Rep. John Olver of Massachusetts announces retirement plans

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 26, 2011 7:04 PM
Rep. John Olver of Massachusetts announces retirement plans

CONWAY, Mass (Reuters) - Representative John Olver, a Massachusetts Democrat, said on Wednesday he plans to retire from Congress when his current term ends next year, citing family issues.

Olver's decision could lead to elimination of his district, averting a potential fight in the state over planned Congressional redistricting.

Olver, 75, who has represented western and central Massachusetts since 1991, said he had to reconsider an earlier pledge to run again because circumstances in his family had "substantially changed ... over the past six months."

In April, it was announced that Olver's wife, Rose, was being treated for ovarian cancer.

"I will retire from the House of Representatives at the conclusion of the current (112th) Congress," Olver said in a statement.

An Olver spokeswoman declined to elaborate beyond the prepared statement.

Population changes revealed in December by the U.S. Census mean Massachusetts will lose one of its 10 congressional seats. A state committee is expected to release new district maps within the next several weeks.

Redrawing congressional lines based on population changes ensures each House district represents roughly the same number of people, as required by the U.S. Constitution.

Olver's political career began in 1969 when he was elected a Massachusetts state representative, followed by 18 years in the state senate starting in 1973.

(Reporting by Zach Howard; Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Jerry Norton)