Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman John Sarbanes (MD-03) announced that he will not run for re-election in 2024. At the end of his 9th term, he will have served in Congress for eighteen years.
“I believe in public service. My siblings and I grew up with the teaching that there are many ways to serve. Being in Congress is one of them — a truly humbling opportunity to make a difference. But before coming to Congress, I also found great reward in working with nonprofits, volunteering and otherwise contributing to my community. That too is a powerful form of public service. For some time now, I have found myself drawn back to that kind of work — wanting to explore the many opportunities to serve that exist outside of elected office. With that in mind, I have decided not to seek re-election in 2024. While I am making this announcement today — specifically for the benefit of candidates interested in running for my seat in next year’s election — I’m not going anywhere for the next fourteen months. That’s what’s left in my term and I’m committed to finishing strong.
Stepping away from Congress voluntarily — whether it’s at the eighteen-year mark as in my case or at any point — is not an easy thing. Because the stakes of what we do are so high and because we trust in our value to the team, the case can always be made to press on to the next election. Our country faces many challenges right now, but the Democratic caucus that will carry forward into the next Congress and beyond has a strength and unity of purpose that bodes well for the future. Our new leadership is making all the right moves to bring Democrats back into the majority in January 2025. It makes me hopeful about America’s prospects at this moment when I am pivoting in a new direction.
Looking back on my nine terms in Congress, I feel an enormous sense of gratitude and accomplishment. These have been among the most rewarding years of my professional life, working with dedicated staff and amazing colleagues — especially the outstanding Maryland delegation — on the most pressing issues of our time. Over the next fourteen months, I’ll continue to focus on those issues as well as the critical responsibility of providing timely and responsive constituent service.
For more than a decade, I have made strengthening our democracy my top legislative priority in Congress. That special commitment is one I will maintain through the remainder of my term in order to help position Democrats for the coming window of opportunity in 2025. I am thrilled that Representative Katherine Clark has agreed to shepherd the passage of the Freedom to Vote Act in the next Congress. Under the steady hand of Leader Jeffries, our caucus’ unanimous backing of this legislation along with the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act fortifies the ongoing effort to pass both bills into law. I will be a partner in that effort until it succeeds.
Over the years, I have been blessed with wonderful supporters who kept me strong and motivated every single day. I am forever grateful to them. Of course, I owe special thanks to the residents of Maryland’s Third District. At every turn they inspired me to pursue the highest standard of constituent service. Addressing their priorities from my position on the Energy and Commerce Committee — health care, the environment and so many other issues — has made me a much more knowledgeable and effective advocate and I will carry that skill set into continued work on behalf of the community.
Success in any endeavor depends on one’s teammates and it has been my greatest privilege to work with outstanding staff whose belief in public service has fortified me from the outset. They are another reason I am optimistic about the future.
It will come as a surprise to no one that the example of my late father, Senator Paul Sarbanes, greatly influenced my decision to enter politics. Within my own limitations, I’ve strived to meet the standard of thoughtfulness and integrity that he brought to public service.
As someone deeply proud of my Greek heritage, I am indebted to the Greek-American community for embracing my entry into politics and for the trust so many placed in me to be a champion of the strong relationship between the United States, Greece and Cyprus. In that capacity, I have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with an exemplary group of community leaders whose philotimo is a model for all.
As for my family, appreciation runs too deep for words. I can’t do anything without them and they know that.
Finally, I am keenly aware that what makes the world go round is the unsung work of spirited leaders on the ground in every community. To those true movers and shakers who took the time and patience to connect me with the things that matter, thank you for your wonderful partnership! Our work together will continue.
I’m excited about starting a new chapter, but for now, there’s still much to do in the remaining fourteen months of the 118th Congress, and that’s where all my energy and attention will be.”