After 34 Years, Rep. Frank Wolf to Retire

Wolf announces he won't run in 2014 for Congress.

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Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., testifies during a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee on March 10, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia, a Republican who was first elected to his seat in 1980, will resign following this term.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., will not seek re-election in 2014, his office announced Tuesday.

The Republican has been serving in Congress since 1980, making him the senior Virginia congressman in the House of Representatives.

[READ: Republicans Feeling Confident Heading Into 2014]

"I have decided not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress in 2014. It has been an honor to serve the people of northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley," Wolf said in a released statement. "I thank my constituents for giving me the privilege of representing them in Congress for 34 years."

Since he was elected in 1980, Wolf's district in northern Virginia has transformed from rural community to bustling D.C. suburbia filled with lobbyists, federal workers and defense contractors. While the district was once a Republican stronghold, shifting demographics have made the district more competitive in recent years, as more immigrants have moved to the area.

In the 2012 election, President Barack Obama lost the district by one percentage point.

Wolf made a name for himself in Congress as a crusader against earmarks, drunken driving, gambling and the GOP's "no taxes" pledge. He has worked across the aisle to enhance federal worker benefits and limit trade relations with China out of concern for the country's record on human rights.

Wolf serves as a member of the House Appropriations Committee and has devoted much of his recent term to holding the Obama administration accountable for the 2012 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that left Ambassador Christopher Stevens dead. Wolf has called on House Republican leaders to assemble a special select committee to investigate the incident.

[ALSO: Select Committee on Benghazi ‘Unlikely,’ Wolf Says]

Wolf also has argued publicly that families of Benghazi victims "can't get any information" about the attack.

In his retirement, Wolf says he plans on devoting more time to human rights work. While in Congress, Wolf published a book about his travels to poor countries and has pushed the State Department to establish a coalition to keep track of religious freedom around the world.

"As a follower of Jesus, I am called to work for justice and reconciliation, and to be an advocate for those who cannot speak for themselves. I plan to focus my future work on human rights and religious freedom – both domestic and international – as well as matters of the culture and the American family," Wolf said.

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