Congressman Bobby Rush will not run for 16th term; ‘I Have a Higher Calling’ – Greeley Tribune

By Todd Furer and Jim Williams

Chicago (CBS) — US Representative Bobby Rush (D-IL) announced Tuesday that he will not run for re-election in 2022, marking the end of his career in Congress, where he has served Illinois’s first district for nearly 30 years.

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“I just pray I can get through this without breaking and breaking,” Rush tenure in office.

Rush said he would continue to fight for racial justice after leaving office, and would work “hands-on” with his successor in Congress.

“I’m going to be clear for anyone who is confused. I’m not retiring, I’m returning. So, I won’t run for Term in the US House of Representatives. For me, I have a higher calling, and I am answering that higher calling: to continue my mission, my definite main goal in life from a different perspective,” he said. “In some ways, this is not a new beginning. In some ways, it is another layer. In a sense, the spirit of the Black Panther Party is still alive and in me. Serving people, body and soul.”

Rush, who has been working to get the Emmett Till Antilynching Act passed, announced his decision at the Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ, the same church where 14-year-old Emmett Till was cremated after the brutal murder in Mississippi in 1955. was done after. , Till, the bill would designate lynching as a federal hate crime for the first time. The bill has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee, but has not yet been voted on by the full House or the US Senate.

A longtime civil rights activist before running for office, Rush was a co-founder of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968. He is pastor of the Beloved Community Christian Church of God in Christ in Englewood.

Rush also has the distinction of being the only politician to defeat Barack Obama in the election, easily defeating him in the 2000 primary election for Rush’s seat.

At the time, Obama was still an Illinois state senator, but Rush said Obama was already a great public speaker, “and frankly, I thought he was prettier than me.

“So quickly I developed a strategy of never engaging in an argument with him. I never argued with Obama during that campaign,” he said. “He didn’t know how to deal with it. I refused to argue with him. I sent someone else to argue with him. So he had to deal with my stand-in instead of dealing with me. ,

However, Rush said that he still jokingly asks himself who won the election.

“For the life of me, I don’t know who won. This man is on his way to becoming a billionaire. He has been President of the United States, and I’m standing before you and saying that I should retire from being a member of Congress. I am,” he said.

Rush said he was “highly honored” that Obama called him for advice in 2008 before Obama ran for presidency.

“He asked me whether I thought he should run, and I advised him with all my heart. I told him, ‘Barack, if you don’t do it now, you’ll spend the rest of your life regretting that You didn’t do it, wondering whether you can win it or not,” he said.

Rush, 75, has represented Illinois’ first district in Congress since 1993, and previously served on the Chicago City Council for 10 years.

Rush said that as a young civil rights activist, he couldn’t imagine serving 10 years on the Chicago City Council and then 30 years in Congress. Rather, he stated that he would die before the age of 30, especially after the assassination of fellow Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clarke, following a raid on the party’s West Side headquarters by police and federal agents on December 4, 1969. In the meantime, the order was placed. By then-Cook County State Attorney Edward Hanrahan.

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“I was supposed to live in the apartment the night Fred and Mark were killed,” he said. “They remembered me then, and then they came to my apartment the next morning on December 5th.”thKnocked down my door, and was I in that apartment on December 5thth, I would not stand here with you today. So I had no vision for the future. I thought I would die before I turned 30.”

Rush said he is not stepping down because of any fears about the outcome of the 2022 midterm election, despite the announcement that more than 20 House Democrats – including Rush – will seek to expand their majority in the House. – declaring that he would not run for re-election in 2022. He said he is optimistic that Democrats will take control of the House because of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“I have full respect and love for her, because she has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is the best Speaker of the House in the history of this country,” Rush said.

But the Congressman said he was disappointed that the Congress “has become very divided; very, very partisan.”

“There is no vision of unity emanating from the Congress,” he said. “I regret the fact that we are such a partisan, power-drunk government institution, and that is one reason why what I try to do is to prioritize our equality rather than our division. And I think one way to do that is to speak to the hearts and minds of those people.”

Rush said he plans to announce in the next few weeks who he will support to take his place in Congress, but stressed that he has not yet made that decision.

Jamal Cole, the founder of My Block, My Hood, My City, previously announced that he was running for the District of Rush. Also announcing his candidacy are Pastor Chris Butler, teachers Kirby Birgans and De Nix, and Michael Thompson.

With the district seat opening up for the first time in nearly 30 years, it’s likely that many other Democrats will enter the race.

Some potential candidates were in church for Rush’s announcement, including his son Flynn Rush, who is already running for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District.

“I will certainly do my best to carry forward the torch of changing hearts and minds through public service,” he said, although he has yet to announce whether he will run for his father’s seat in the Water Reform District. I will leave my bid. Congress.

Eld. Roderick Sawyer (6.)th) confirmed that it is considering a possible run.

“I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m happy where I am, but if I tell you I’m not interested, I’ll lie to you,” he said.

Activist Jamel Green also said he is “strongly considering” the seat.

“I thank Bobby Rush for his service for so many years, but we need young leaders to come forward during this difficult time,” he said.

Sources also told CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov that state Sen. Jackie Collins (D-Chicago) is seriously eyeing a race for Rush’s seat, at the insistence of lawmakers.

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The district is heavily Democratic, meaning the June primary is certain to decide who will succeed Rush in Congress.