Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) is retiring from Congress at the end of his current term.
In an announcement, Perlmutter said it was time to pass the torch to the next generation of leaders.
“After much thought and consideration, I have decided not to run for reelection. I have loved representing my friends, neighbors and fellow Coloradans in the Congress of the United States of America. I will miss meeting voters of the new 7th District — it is truly the most beautiful district in America. It’s got the best of Colorado in it,” Perlmutter said.
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The statement also highlighted some of the work he’s most proud of, including helping to expand renewable energy research at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, working to grow Colorado’s aerospace community, including securing funding for the Orion project and pushing forward with human space exploration, and increasing awareness of the public safety risk a cash-only cannabis industry creates in Colorado and across the country.
In a separate interview, Perlmutter said predictions of a “red wave” in the coming mid-terms didn’t have an impact on his decision. He acknowledged that in mid-terms, it’s difficult for the party holding the presidency to maintain control of the House, but said voters of the district are smart and will give their support to a thoughtful, well-informed candidate. He also believes voters will be able to see positive change happening all around the district when several infrastructure projects slated for the area are underway.
“I think it’ll show that money is being put to good use for projects that will benefit them (district residents) in the future,” he said.
Climate change and wildfire mitigation are at the top of the list of challenges Perlmutter says the district will continue to face.
“If the wind had turned just a bit south (in the recent Boulder, Louisville fires) a lot of District 7 would have been in peril. And then you take the new district with all of the forests and mountain areas — wildfire mitigation and prevention will be a big issue,” he said.
Education and post-COVID economic development are issues the district will continue to grapple with in the future, but in general, he thinks the state and country are in pretty good shape economically, all things considered.
“Colorado’s unemployment is pretty good. The country gained 6.4 million jobs last year under Joe Biden. The stock market is up 10,000 points, which means $14 trillion — it’s $1.4 billion per point, and wages are up,” he said.
A more intangible worry he has is for the state of democracy itself, cautioning that the country must stay vigilant in protecting the constitution and rule of law.
As for his own future, Perlmutter says he’s still not sure. He said he’s kidded around with the idea of practicing law again when his days in Congress are over — he’s still licensed to do so in Colorado. He said he’ll help others campaign as elections draw near. But for now, he still has three big things he wants to see through.
“One — I want to get that Safe Banking bill passed,” he said. “So that there’s not so much cash in dispensaries — we’ve had robberies and murders. Two — I’ve been working on a bill I’m co-sponsoring with Zoe Lofgren, from California, on wildfire prevention and mitigation.”
The third thing on his agenda is an effort to get U.S. astronauts to Mars by 2033. As a member of the Science Committee, a return trip to the moon and subsequent trip to Mars are near and dear.
“It’s going to end up being something that I hope is international in scope — a public/private partnership led by NASA,” he said. “Similar to what we just did with the James Webb Telescope where it was the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency and NASA (working together).”
Asked what he will miss the most about being in Congress, Perlmutter said his staff.
“I have the best staff in America,” he said. “And that’s made our office one of the best offices in America for the people we represent.”