Bud Shuster to Retire
P H I L A D E L P H I A, Jan. 4 -- U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, a 14-term congressmanrebuked by the House ethics committee in the fall for allegedlyaccepting improper gifts and favoring a lobbyist, said today hewill retire at the end of January.
Shuster, R-Pa., cited recent “health scares” and therealization he had “reached the pinnacle of my Congressionalcareer” with recently passed transportation legislation. He saidhe would leave office Jan. 31.
“I’ve been chairman of the largest and most productivecommittee in Congress, I have no desire to do less,” Shuster saidThursday from his Capitol Hill office. Shuster in December finishedhis sixth and last year as chairman of the Transportation &Infrastructure Committee, having served the maximum time allowed byHouse rules.
Shuster, 68, also said his wife’s “serious health problems”prompted him to want to spend more time with her. He did notelaborate on his or his wife’s health problems.
“It’s a personal decision,” Darrell Wilson, his chief ofstaff, said today. “He struggled with it for a long time. Ittook him a year to make.”
Shuster, who was sworn in Wednesday, said he decided to retireat the end of the month because he wanted to vote for DennisHastert as House speaker. Also, by vacating his seat early in theterm, residents of the solidly Republican 9th District insouth-central Pennsylvania would be out of a representative duringwhat is traditionally a slow period in Congress, he said.
Shuster said he spoke to Gov. Tom Ridge on Wednesday night, andRidge promised to call a special election quickly.
In the House, Republicans have 221 seats to 211 Democraticseats, with two independents and one seat left vacant by the deathof Rep. Julian Dixon, D-Calif.
In September, the Committee on Standards of Official Conductcriticized Shuster for “serious official misconduct” but sparedhim further penalty.