POLITICS

Congress bids farewell to influential lawmakers

As Washington gets ready to usher in the 2013 congressional class, FoxNews.com takes a look back at some of the lawmakers who lost re-election, are retiring this year or have passed away -- and their place in congressional history.

Ron Paul

Age: 77 

Political Party: Republican 

State: Texas 

Terms: 12 

Says: "The proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system for acts of force and fraud and little else." 

Future Plans: Heading back to Texas. Speaking engagements around the country. 

After more than two decades in political office, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is packing up his Capitol Hill suite, selling his D.C. condo and moving back to the Lone Star State. Paul's 2012 presidential bid was most likely his last. While he did not gather enough votes to have a shot at the Republican nomination, he did stay true to his grassroots libertarian base, and his supporters say ultimately that's all that matters. Fiercely independent, Paul has never been one to disguise or downplay his disagreements with Republicans or Democrats. During his 48-minute farewell speech to Congress, he called out both parties and criticized policies he feels have brought the country closer to a crisis. Welfare, warfare, pot and gold were among some of the topics he addressed; he warned his colleagues that he fears they will remain divided because "there's no loot left to divvy up." During the presidential primary, some of his opponents described his causes -- such as his unceasing scrutiny of the Fed -- as an inspiration.

AP

Olympia Snowe

Age: 65 

Political Party: Republican

State: Maine

Terms: 3 

Says: "There's a huge chasm between reality in the rest of America and the fantasy world we're living in here. We're in a world of pretend on the floor of the Senate."

Future Plans: Writing a book, launching The Olympia Snowe Women's Leadership Institution and starting a political action committee. 

During her tenure in the Senate, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, was part of a centrist group of lawmakers who worked with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get government business done. Her willingness to work with Democrats did not always make her popular with party leaders but it did lead to real changes for the country. During her farewell speech to colleagues, she said she feared the current political climate in Congress and said: "I worry we are losing the art of legislating. And when the history of this chapter in the Senate is written, we don't want it to conclude it was here that it became an antiquated practice."

AP

Barney Frank

Age: 72

Political Party: Democratic

State: Massachusetts 

Terms: 16

Says: "I will miss this job but one of the advantages of not running for office is I don't even have to pretend to be nice to people I don't like."

Future Plans: Focus on writing.

Known for his quips and acerbic wit, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., has been one of the most colorful members of Congress for the past three decades. Frank announced in 2011 that he would not run for reelection and cited redistricting as one of his reasons. Frank has been an advocate for affordable housing and helped lead a regulatory crackdown after the financial crisis. He was the first openly gay elected official to serve as a U.S. representative and pushed hard to advance gay rights. During a recent interview, he was asked about the Supreme Court's decision to rule on same-sex marriage by deciding the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8 -- a voter initiative that limits marriage to a man and a woman. "I don't think the five-member Supreme Court majority that we have is ready to declare that there is a constitutional right to marry everywhere," he said. "To bring a lawsuit when you're not likely to win it, prematurely, is a mistake." 

AP

Jim DeMint

Age: 61

Political Party: Republican

State: South Carolina 

Terms: 2

Says: "I never intended to be a career politician. I have played a role in stocking the Senate with solid conservatives who are younger and bright and better spokesmen that I am."

Future Plans: Will head up the Heritage Foundation.

Tea Party leader Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., announced he would resign at the end of the year to head up the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington. DeMint said it's "a good time to leave" because of the term limit he set for himself. DeMint has been an uncompromising conservative when it comes to both economic and social issues and has pushed a type of purity politics that forced some members of the GOP to display their conservative credentials more prominently. DeMint declared during President Obama's first administration that the pursuit of comprehensive health care reform could become Obama's Waterloo. DeMint was instrumental in the election of Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named Rep. Tim Scott as DeMint's replacement. 

AP

Joseph Lieberman

Age: 70

Political Party: Independent

State: Connecticut

Terms: 4

Says: “I believe that our national security lies not just in protecting our borders, but in bridging divides.”

Future Plans: Writing.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., started his 42-year political career as a state senator in 1970. In 1988, he was elected to the first of his four terms and in 2000 nearly became the nation’s first Jewish vice president when he ran as Al Gore’s running mate. Lieberman famously broke with the Democratic Party during his last Senate campaign after losing in the primaries. He went on to win his seat as an independent in the general election. As a Democrat, Lieberman frequently called out his colleagues. In 2002 he sided with Republicans over the war in Iraq and in 2008 criticized President Obama’s lack of bipartisan victories during a speech at the Republican National Convention.  

AP

Daniel Inouye

Age: 88

Political Party: Democratic

State: Hawaii

Terms: 9 

Says: “One doesn’t become a soldier in a week. It takes training, study and discipline. There is no question that the finest Army in the world is found in the United States.”

Democrats and Republicans put away partisan politics to pay tribute to the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, who died Dec. 17 from respiratory complications. Inouye, a World War II veteran who lost an arm in battle, is remembered as an American hero. A memorial service at Honolulu's National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was attended by 1,000 people including the president, Hawaii's congressional delegation and a number of other cabinet secretaries and dignitaries. Inouye was a part of the Japanese-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team and was buried at the site which is also the final resting place to thousands of World War II veterans. "Whenever we needed a noble man to lean on, we turned to Sen. Dan Inouye," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said. "He was fearless."

AP

Kay Bailey Hutchison

Age: 69

Political Party: Republican

State: Texas

Terms: 3 terms 

Says: "It's been a long and wonderful 19-plus years."

Future Plans: Speaking engagements. 

Known as a "no-frills conservative," Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, rose to become one of the nation's leading female lawmakers. She was first elected in a special election in 1993 to succeed former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, D-Texas, who left his post to become the Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration. She tirelessly championed for her home state and pushed for legislation for tax-deferred retirement accounts for homemakers and easing the so-called marriage penalty and made sure that Texans, who pay no state income tax, could at least deduct state sales tax. After the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Hutchison suggested that "new regulation should be considered" particularly concerning "large clips." 

Two years ago she ran for governor but was beaten by Gov. Rick Perry in the primaries. During the primaries, Perry called her an "earmark queen" and referred to her as "Kay Bailout," for her support of the bank bailouts in 2008. "It was a horrible experience," she said about her bid for governor. "I love the Senate, but I always wanted to be governor."

AP

Scott Brown

Age: 53

Political Party: Republican

State: Massachusetts

Terms: 1 

Says: “Rarely have elected leaders been so intent on defying the public will.”

Future Plans: Could be the "comeback kid" if he wins.  

Scott Brown, R-Mass., was elected to the Senate in 2010 to fill the seat held by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. Brown had stumped the state in a pickup truck. His surprising win in a historically blue state was due in part to the rise of the Tea Party, and his election temporarily stalled passage of the health care overhaul. While he voted with Republicans most of the time, he also voted in favor of the Democratic financial reform bill and did not join his GOP colleagues in their push to cut off federal funding for Planned Parenthood. In 2012 he ran for a full term and lost against Sen.-elect Elizabeth Warren. In December, President Obama nominated Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., for secretary of state. If confirmed, Kerry will be forced to resign his Senate seat which could mean another shot for Brown. During his farewell address on the Senate floor, Brown seemed to toy with the idea. "Depending on what happens, and where we go, all of us, we may obviously meet again." 

AP

Richard Lugar

Age: 80

Political Party: Republican

State: Indiana

Terms: 6

Says: “There are no shortcuts to victory. We must commit ourselves to the slow, painstaking work of foreign policy day by day and year by year.”

Future Plans: Teach at the University of Indianapolis. Will join the German Marshall Fund of the United States.  

Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., ends his Senate career as the most senior Republican, the longest-serving Indiana lawmaker and the ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where he twice served as chairman. He gained international recognition for his work on foreign affairs and is best known for the program he created with former Democratic Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia though which thousands of nuclear warheads and ton of chemical weapons in the former Soviet Union have been destroyed. Lugar's legacy in public office was drawn to a close when he was defeated in the GOP primary.

AP

Lynn Woolsey

Age: 75

Political Party: Democratic

State: California

Terms: 10 

Says: "I'm not disappointed. I'm not walking out of here saying, 'Oh, I wish I'd done more.' I couldn't have done more."

Future Plans: TBD

After two decades in D.C., Rep. Lynn Woolsey is calling it quits. Woolsey, who served as the leader of the Congressional Progressive Caucus for six years, was elected to Congress on her 55th birthday and said she'd retire at 65 but when that milestone came, she stayed. "It never entered my mind (to retire), she said. "It takes 10 years for you to stop being a teenager and become a full adult in Congress." She is best known for her early opposition to the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan.

AP

Congress bids farewell to influential lawmakers

As Washington gets ready to usher in the 2013 congressional class, FoxNews.com takes a look back at some of the lawmakers who lost re-election, are retiring this year or have passed away -- and their place in congressional history.

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