Long-serving California Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, the first Mexican-American woman elected to Congress, announced Monday she will not seek re-election in her Los Angeles-area district.
The decision by the 80-year-old Democratic congresswoman comes as her district appeared headed for elimination, as part of California’s once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts to account for population shifts. California is losing a congressional seat for the first time because other states are growing faster, dropping to 52 seats from 53 seats, though it will remain the largest House delegation by far.
Shifting district boundary lines appear to have played a role in other House departures. Among them: Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, who was one of former President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists in Congress, is leaving the House at the end of this year to join Trump’s fledgling media company, and Democratic Rep. Alan Lowenthal, who represents a district anchored in Long Beach, south of Los Angeles, announced he would retire at the end of his term.
In other prominent departures, Democratic Rep. Karen Bass is running for mayor of Los Angeles and will not seek re-election, and Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier has said she will retire after the end of her term; she represents a San Francisco Bay Area district.
Roybal-Allard was first elected in 1992. She is the daughter of the late Rep. Edward Roybal, who spent three decades in Congress and died in 2005. When her father was elected to the House in 1962, Roybal was the first Hispanic from California to serve in Congress since 1879.
In Congress, Roybal-Allard was known for her work on immigration issues, and was one of the original co-authors of legislation to give legal status to people who entered the U.S. illegally as children.
After 30 years in the House “the time has come for me to spend more time with my family,” she said in a statement.
Redrawn congressional district maps show Roybal-Allard losing key areas in her district, with parts of it merging into the district now held by Lowenthal.
The state commission redrawing the lines faces a Dec. 27 deadline to finalize its maps.