U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., announced he would retire from Congress at a town hall meeting Monday in Neenah, Wis.
Petri told attendees no single factor made up his mind not to seek re-election in Wisconsin’s 6th District, according to a statement Monday.
“Best wishes to whoever is elected to represent us in the next Congress,” Petri said, according to the statement. “He or she will have the opportunity to turn the great prospects before our country into concrete reality.”
Petri has represented parts of central and eastern Wisconsin since his first election to Congress in 1979. Most recently, Petri introduced legislation with U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would allow corporations or individuals to sponsor college students as an alternative to student loans.
Several of Petri’s political colleagues thanked Petri for his work in the House of Representatives. U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Ron Kind, R-Wis., both released statements thanking Petri for his work and applauding his policy expertise.
“This is a huge loss for the State of Wisconsin,” Pocan said. “I have always been impressed with Tom’s willingness to work across the aisle to do what is best for the people of Wisconsin.”
The Republican Party of Wisconsin and Gov. Scott Walker also released statements lauding Petri’s legislative achievements.
State Sen. Glenn Grothman, R-West Bend, who announced his candidacy for Petri’s seat earlier this month, thanked Petri for his service in a statement Friday.
“Congressman Petri’s decision doesn’t change the issues that I’ll bring to the voters in my campaign,” Grothman said. “The country’s spiral towards debt, the trend towards government dependency, and the breakdown of the American family are the issues that I’m most passionate about.”
Since Petri’s announcement, state Rep. Duey Stroebel, R-Saukville, has joined Grothman in the race for the seat. Stroebel was elected to the state Assembly in 2011 and said in a statement he believes his background in business would serve him in Congress.
John Hiller, Walker’s former transition director, and state Sen. Joe Leibham, R-Sheboygan, both said in statements earlier this month they are considering whether to run in the Republican primary for the seat.