Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., announced Tuesday afternoon that he will not seek re-election in 2018 because he wants to help Puerto Rico recover from two disastrous hurricanes.
"I cannot be here in the 4th congressional district and be rebuilding the home of my mom and my dad," Gutierrez said about Puerto Rico. "The place that I love so much — and I'm gonna work really hard until she's completely built to 21st century standards, but I can't do them both."
"I'm not going to run for reelection, but I'm also throwing my support behind Jesus [Chuy] Garcia, to run for the office of representative for the 4th District," Gutierrez added. "I want to make absolutely clear that I'd be a candidate in the congressional district if Jesus Garcia had not volunteered to run."
Gutierrez, a stalwart for immigrant rights and defender of sanctuary city policies, said he has spent 4,000 nights away from home over the past 24 years he has served in Congress.
"It's almost 11 years that I didn't spend in Chicago. It's a lot of time, and life to me is like a novel. It's only a certain number of chapters and as I write this last chapter, I wanna write it with [my family]," Gutierrez said.
The outgoing lawmaker will instead focus on creating a "new fierce framework" for immigrant rights as the parties head toward the 2020 presidential election.