Rep. George Miller, one of the last remaining Democrats elected in the backlash of the Watergate scandal in 1974, announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2014.
"I am energized by our freshman class, their diversity, their enthusiasm. This decision is about me having been here 40 years. I am comfortable that it is the right time," Miller, D-Calif., told Politico ahead of a public announcement in his district.
Miller reiterated that his decision to step down from his post has nothing to do with the long-shot odds Democrats face to retake the House of Representatives in the midterm elections.
Miller, who has served in Congress since 1974, has earned a reputation as a strong confidant of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and will leave Democrats scrambling to fill the leadership void left in his absence. Miller long has sided with Pelosi, also of California, on everything from health care to the leader's legacy. He famously defended her in 2010 after Democrats lost their majority in the House of Representatives and 87 tea party freshmen were elected to the body.
During his time in Congress, Miller found his footing as a liberal advocate on environmental, labor and education issues. He worked closely with the White House in President Barack Obama's first term to pass the Affordable Care Act and the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which gave employees a longer window to sue for unequal wages in the workplace. He also helped steer money toward education as part of the president's stimulus package.
Most recently, Miller has spent time pushing to increase the federal minimum wage and extend long-term unemployment benefits.
"Making good public policy is very hard work," Miller said in a released statement. "The job is never done. It requires a great sense of urgency to move forward on the big issues and enormous stamina to see them all the way through."
Well-known for his legislative accomplishments, the congressman also has attracted media attention for his living situation. Miller shares a townhome with Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill. Their arrangement inspired the television show "Alpha House."
"This is a great institution and I cannot thank my family and my constituents enough for having given me the honor and privilege of representing my district in Congress these past 40 years," Miller said. "I look forward to one last year in Congress fighting the good fight and then working in new venues on the issues that have inspired me. What a wonderful experience this has been.