U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Illinois)an Army veteran and Baptist minister who has served in Congress since 1993announced his retirement Jan. 4, per The Chicago Tribune.
He said he would continue a lifetime in public service and activism by turning to his "higher calling" as a pastor to help shape "minds and hearts."
In the 1960s, Rush, 75, co-founded the Illinois Black Panther Party. He then segued into politics, becoming a Chicago alderman and a U.S. Congressman. His only electoral loss was in 1999 against then-Mayor Richard M. Daley; the following year, he defeated future President Barack Obama in a congressional primary.
Rush has dealt with various health issues over the years, including a battle with salivary gland cancer in 2008. Recently, he tested positive for COVID-19. If he retires, he would be the 24th House Democrat to do so.
When the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the country in 2015, Rush said, "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" and called the landmark decision a "victory for all Americans."
Rush's decision by Rush to step down at the end of his 15th term set off a scramble among the South Side and south suburban elected officials in the newly drawn 1st Congressional District.