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Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee will not seek re-election

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Flint)

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee says he will step down at the end of his current term.

“After spending time with my wife, children, and grandchildren and contemplating our future, the time has come for me to step back from public office,” Kildee said in a written statement.

The 65-year-old Democrat announced in March that he had been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. A small tumor was removed from one of his tonsils. He is now cancer-free.

“There are times in all our lives that make you reassess your own future and path,” Kildee said, “This year was one of those moments.”

Kildee is in his sixth term in Washington, having been elected to succeed his uncle Dale Kildee in 2012.

“It is a true honor to serve and represent my hometown of Flint and surrounding communities in Congress,” said Kildee, “I am proud of what we’ve accomplished for mid-Michigan and the country.”

Dan Kildee played a key role securing tens of millions of dollars in federal funding during the Flint water crisis, when the city’s water system became contaminated with lead, after an ill-advised switch to the Flint River as its water source.

As a member of the House of Representatives’ Democratic leadership, Kildee played key roles in climate change, electric vehicle, semiconductor and prescription drug legislation, including capping the cost of insulin at $35 for senior citizens.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, who’s also retiring from Congress in 2024, praised Kildee.

“Congressman Dan Kildee embodies everything we want our public servants to be. His love for his hometown of Flint, his district, and the state of Michigan is so clear and shows up in all of his work in Congress,” said Stabenow.

When Dan Kildee ran to succeed in uncle Dale in Congress, he did so in a relatively safe "Democratic” district. But when the district was redrawn in 2022, Kildee found himself in a far more competitive district.

Kildee’s decision not to seek re-election, is being perceived as a win among Republicans.

“Democrats are in shambles as their list of swing-district Democrats who are racing for the exits continues to grow. Republicans are looking forward to flipping this seat red,” said Mike Marinella, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

There will be at least three open Congressional seats currently held by Democrats in Michigan in 2024. In addition to Kildee and Stabenow, Rep. Elissa Slotkin is leaving her mid-Michigan district seat to run for Stabenow's open U.S. Senate seat.

Kildee’s retirement will bring an end to a career in elected office that began when he was 18-years-old, when he was elected to the Flint Board of Education. Kildee also served for a dozen years on the Genesee County Board of Commissioners.

Kildee's decision not to seek re-election will likely mean in 2025 there will not be a Kildee representing mid-Michigan in Congress for the first time since 1976.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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