Representative David Dreier To Retire After 32 Years In Congress

Congressman David Dreier on February 29 announced on the House floor that he will not seek re-election to Congress.
Dreier, a Republican who was first elected in 1980 with the Ronald Reagan landslide who has now risen to be chairman of the House Rules Committee, is departing in large measure because his logical area of representation is now in the redrawn 32nd Congressional District rather than the 26th Congressional District which he currently represents. In the 32nd, Democrats hold a decided voter registration advantage over Republicans. The current 26th District is a Republican bastion straddling San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties, and includes La Canada, Flintridge, La Crescenta, Pasadena and  San Dimas along with Upland, San Antonio Heights, Mt. Baldy  and Rancho Cucamonga. Members of Congress are not required to live within the district each represents.
After this year’s redistricting, Dreier’s options included running in the 32nd, which contains heavily blue collar Duarte and El Monte, or seeking election either in the newly drawn 26th Congressional District, where Democrats hold a slight majority and incumbent Congressman Elton Gallegly had been considered a likely contestant along with Democratic Ventura County supervisor Steve Bennett, or running in the redrawn 31st Congressional District, where the Democrats have a narrow registration advantage and well-financed Gary Miller, an incumbent Republican, is running. Dreier opted to retire, as did, curiously, Gallegly. Bennett has also chosen not to run for Congress.
Despite Gallegly’s and Bennett’s change in plans, Dreier’s withdrawal from Congress appears irrevocable, given his announcement on the House floor. “Mr. Speaker, I have chosen to leave Congress at the end of this term,” Dreier said. “I take the unusual step of announcing this from the floor of Congress for two reasons. First, this is where my fellow Californians sent me to represent them. Second, I am a proud institutionalist, and I believe that this institution is as great as it has ever been.”
Dreier, 59, has had an extraordinary career as an elected official, given the conflicts in his personal and political life. As a self-described conservative Republican, he voted in support of the  Defense of Marriage Act,  against gay adoption, against inclusion of homosexuals as a protected class in hate crime legislation and against the repeal of the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask. Don’t Tell” policy. Nevertheless, Dreier is an uncelebrated homosexual, having quietly maintained a domestic relationship with his partner of more than 20 years, Brad Smith, who is also his chief of staff and earns a $156,600 salary before benefits, the highest possible salary allowed by law for a committee staff member in Washington, D.C.
Dreier’s domestic situation has gone unremarked in most of the press within his district, although it is widely known in Washington, D.C.  Within the nation’s capital, Dreier’s sexual orientation has been recognized in several circles, partially because in the 1980s, as a rising young Republican Congressman, he briefly dated but then spurned Dorothy Bush, the daughter of then-vice president and later president George H.W. Bush.  Dreier’s sexual orientation became internationally known in June 2005, after the British press addressed the issue when then-British prime minister Tony Blair’s son Euan went to work as an intern for Dreier’s committee.

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