Republican Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas announced Thursday that he will retire from the House when his term ends at the end of next year.

Smith has carved a name for himself as the chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, especially in the last Congress when he often questioned the Obama administration's focus on climate change.

"For several reasons, this seems like a good time to pass on the privilege of representing the 21st District to someone else," Smith said in a letter to supporters. "At the end of this Congress, I will have completed my six-year term as chairman of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. I have one new grandchild and a second arriving soon. And I hope to find other ways to stay involved in politics."

Smith added that it has been "gratifying to have been named one of the 100 most influential people in D.C., one of the most effective members of Congress, and Legislator of the Year."

Smith has more than a year remaining in his term, and he said he will strive to get as much done as possible in that time. "There is legislation to enact, dozens of hearings to hold, and hundreds of votes to cast," he said.

"Our nation faces many challenges but we will always prevail if we put the interests of American citizens and taxpayers first," Smith wrote. "A successful democracy requires an honest media, true patriots and respect for the rule of law. All of us can do our part to help promote these ideals."