Democratic representative announces he’s not running for re-election

Illinois U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez announced he will not seek reelection next year in order to focus his efforts on helping to repair Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria’s devastation, he said at a news conference Tuesday in Chicago.

Gutierrez, a Democrat, has been a congressman since 1993 and is a senior member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He is an ardent advocate of immigration reform and was arrested in September along with two other congressmen for protesting outside Trump Tower during a demonstration in support of immigrants.

He has been vocal about his disdain for President Donald Trump, most recently criticizing his response to the hurricane aftermath in Puerto Rico.

Gutierrez endorsed Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia for his seat in next year’s election for the fourth congressional district of Illinois, calling him a “champion” in “the fight for immigrant rights.”

“I would not have made this decision unless there was somebody who could step up and give new life to the agenda in Washington, DC,” he said.

Garcia ran for mayor of Chicago in 2015, driving incumbent Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel into a runoff election and reaping endorsements from several notable politicians, including Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

“Our country has never needed wisdom rooted in fresh thinking like it does today,” Garcia said. “I’m ready to take the next step along the journey, … creating a just democracy for all Americans.”

Gutierrez has been a vocal advocate for Puerto Rico and previously broke down in tears when describing the situation to CNN’s Jim Sciutto in September.

“I love Puerto Rico, and she’s in a lot of pain and there’s a lot of people that have turned their backs on her,” he said. “I’m going to work really hard until she’s completely rebuilt to 21st century standards.”