By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - U.S. Representative Ruben Hinojosa, a 10-term Texas Democrat serving a sprawling district that stretches from outside San Antonio to the Mexican border, announced his retirement from the U.S. Congress on Friday.
"It is with a profound sense of gratitude and emotion that I announce my decision not to seek re-election to the U.S. Congress," Hinojosa, 75, said in a prepared text of a statement he made at a news conference in South Texas.
Hinojosa called himself "the proud son of Mexican immigrants" and expressed hope that Congress would pass immigration reform legislation. He underscored the importance of a path to U.S. citizenship for some illegal immigrants.
He won re-election in 2014 by defeating his Republican opponent by 11 percentage points in a district that is about 80 percent Hispanic and has been a Democratic stronghold.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called Hinojosa a champion of education and opportunity for all Americans.
"For almost 20 years, Congressman Hinojosa's towering leadership has driven progress for aspiring students, rural families and Latino communities across America," Pelosi said in a statement.
Hinojosa noted that he had served more than 40 years in elected positions in public service including the past two decades in the House of Representatives.
He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce and the Committee on Financial Services.
"I will finish my term for the people of my district when my term expires at the end of next year. After that, I will pursue the possibility of serving as a distinguished visiting professor at a university, as a vice chancellor of a university system or working in the private sector," he said.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Sandra Maler)