GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who next year will become the longest-serving House member in Wisconsin history, announced today he won’t seek re-election next year.

Sensenbrenner, who was elected to the House in 1978, noted in his announcement that he’s done more than 100 town hall meetings each year while in Congress, taken 23,882 votes on the House floor and seen 217 bills he sponsored signed into law by six different presidents.

“I think I am leaving this district, our Republican Party, and most important, our country, in a better place than when I began my service,” Sensenbrenner said.

The Menomonee Falls Republican’s surprise announcement is sure to set off a spirited GOP primary for the heavily Republican seat. It’s also the second high-profile retirement in Wisconsin’s congressional delegation with U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, announcing he will step down Sept. 23.

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, who decided against seeking re-election last year, praised Sensenbrenner as a mentor.

A former House Judiciary chair, Sensenbrenner helped lead passage of the Patriot Act following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and was a longtime supporter of the Voting Rights Act.

“He has provided an amazing example for generations of Wisconsin Republican legislators to follow and showed us how to be effective advocates and representatives,” Ryan said.


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