Rep. McCarthy won't seek re-election - New York News

Rep. McCarthy won't seek re-election

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U.S. House official portrait U.S. House official portrait

FRANK ELTMAN | AP

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) -- U.S. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, who said last year that she had lung cancer, announced on Wednesday that she will not seek re-election to a 10th term in Congress.

McCarthy, who turned 70 on Sunday, became a national advocate for gun control legislation after her husband was killed and son wounded in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road massacre. The nurse and housewife was a lifelong Republican who ran as a Democrat after her representative voted against an assault weapons ban. She easily won re-election to eight more terms.

McCarthy's announcement comes on the third anniversary of the shooting of her former House colleague and friend, Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.

"As I plan for the next chapter of my life, I look forward to resuming my role as a citizen activist for the causes and principles that are so close to my heart," said McCarthy. "I am very proud of the many accomplishments my colleagues and I have achieved, and am grateful to my family, my staff and all the countless volunteers and supporters with whom I have worked during my time in office."

Rep. Steve Israel, a fellow Long Island congressman who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, called McCarthy "a shining example of how one can translate tragedy into meaningful public service. Carolyn leaves a legacy of standing up for Long Island families, advocating for the safety of our children and fighting for critical gun safety legislation. She will be deeply missed."

McCarthy, a lifelong smoker, announced in June that she had lung cancer. She subsequently sued dozens of asbestos manufacturers, claiming she may have been exposed to the material as a young woman. That suit is pending.

She was elected to the House in 1996, a surprise victory that would inspire a Barbra Streisand-produced TV movie. Eventually she became known as the "gun lady" on Capitol Hill.

"I've come to peace with the fact that that will be in my obituary," McCarthy once told an interviewer of her stance on gun control.

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