Washington, DC - Congressman Tom Lantos (D-San Mateo, San Francisco) today released the following statement:
"Routine medical tests have revealed that I have cancer of the esophagus. In view of this development and the treatment it will require, I will not seek re-election.
"It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress. I will never be able to express fully my profoundly felt gratitude to this great country.[..]
Tom Lantos was elected to Congress in 1980 and is in his 14th term in office. His Democratic colleagues elected him chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress, Tom is the founding co-chairman of the 24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus, for which (Lantos' wife) Annette has directed as a volunteer since its inception.
Speaking as a Bay Area resident, I dearly hope that Lantos is able to fight and prevail against the cancer. He has been a strong Democratic voice in Congress for many years. The SF Chronicle (his local paper) calls him a giant among men for his work on human rights. For those keeping track, Jackie Speier (a very progressive candidate) has already declared her intent to run for Lantos' seat.