Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout
WASHINGTON — Saying he was most proud of his work in making college affordable for a diverse group of students, U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa announced Friday that he would not seek another term in Congress.
"For the last 20 years, it has been my privilege to represent the voters of the 15th District," Hinojosa said during a speech in McAllen The comments were released by his office. "During that time, I fought to improve the quality of life of South Texas families, children and communities. I worked tirelessly to improve education, economic development, health care, international trade and transportation."
In talking about education, Hinojosa said, "I am most proud of my leadership in making college more affordable and accessible for students, especially low-income and underrepresented students."
The Edinburg Democrat, who has served in Congressional District 15 since he was first elected in 1996, serves as the ranking member on the House Higher Education and Workforce Training Subcommittee and a member of the House Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions. He said that he would finish out his term and then pursue the possibility of serving as a visiting professor at a university.
For most of the current cycle, Hinojosa's campaign operation had been relatively dormant. Republican Ruben Villarreal, the former mayor of Rio Grande City, has already declared his bid to replace him.
In Friday's announcement, Hinojosa also talked about his work to help provide a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants, commonly known as DREAMers, who were brought to the U.S. by their families.
"These students deserve a path to citizenship," Hinojosa said. "After all, this is the only country they have ever known."
CD-15, which stretches from the Rio Grande Valley up to Seguin and parts of New Braunfels, has been reliably Democratic. Hinojosa won his last election with 54 percent of the vote. But Hinojosa's retirement will cause a scramble in South Texas among possible hopefuls looking to replace him.