U.S. representative will not seek reelection

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published August 5, 2019

 Congressman Paul Mitchell, who represents Michigan’s 10th District, has decided not to run for reelection in 2020.

Congressman Paul Mitchell, who represents Michigan’s 10th District, has decided not to run for reelection in 2020.

Photo provided by Alex Davidson

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On July 24, Congressman Paul Mitchell, representing Michigan’s 10th District, announced during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives that he will be retiring at the end of the 116th Congress.

Mitchell moved to the 10th District in 2015 after Candice Miller decided not to run for reelection.

He has decided not to run for reelection in 2020, which would have been his third term.    

“The election process is on a specific window, and I have to make a decision whether I want to see myself here another term, and I couldn’t commit to do that. The decision had to be made by mid-September. I’ve been running for office for about six or seven years and will have been representing this one for four. I don’t think it’s intended to be a career,” Mitchell said of elected office.

He said that he stepped up to Congress with the same dedication as when he started his previous career as a business owner.

“I brought that passion and commitment to Washington. I was, and remain, committed to making a difference in the world. I literally approached being a member of Congress like my earlier career — full tilt and leaving no stone unturned to have a meaningful impact, and to make a difference on issues where I could. It is an honor to stand on this floor, debate issues and represent the people of Michigan’s 10th Congressional District. I am proud to be among the 12,500 or so Americans that have had the privilege of serving in Congress,” he said in his speech.

During the speech, Mitchell spoke about his decision to retire.

“I have also begun asking myself about making a difference for my family. My children of all ages — but the youngest just 9 years old — have accepted their dad traveling this country extensively, working a demanding schedule, and frequently interrupting ‘family time’ with calls, emails and text messages. My spouse, Sherry, has been so supportive and more patient than probably warranted.

“A career in Washington has never been my objective. My objective has always been simply to work to address significant challenges this nation faces: health care, immigration and infrastructure, for example. However, it appears to me that rhetoric overwhelms policy, and politics consumes much of the oxygen in this city.”

He mentioned how he has decided to focus his energy toward his family.

“The time has come to make a difference for my family — to focus my time and energy upon them — their needs and goals. As George Washington is quoted: ‘I would rather be on my farm than emperor of the world.’ As a result, I have decided I will not seek to continue to represent Michigan’s 10th District next term. After serving out the remainder of the 116th Congress, I will return to my family and our small farm. Thank you, and I yield back,” Mitchell said in his speech.

In a press release on Mitchell’s campaign website, he stated why he decided to retire after voting against the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019.

“Our budgeting process is broken and leads Congress to abdicate its fiscal responsibilities. This budget deal fails to rein in wasteful government spending, has insufficient offsets for the money being spent, and will add nearly $2 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years. Further, this bill continues to increase discretionary spending without taking a serious look at our government’s mandatory spending that is currently on autopilot. Our inability to address our nation’s spending addiction is a burden our grandchildren will bear for years to come,” Mitchell said in the release.    

He said he has no plans to run for something else at this moment in time.

“I don’t think you should just plan to step up to something else after,” Mitchell said in a phone interview.

Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller, who formerly served as the member of Congress from the 10th District for 14 years, commented on the announcement of Mitchell not seeking reelection in a prepared statement July 24.

“Rep. Mitchell’s comments on his departure from Congress leave something to be desired. I would have appreciated seeing some recognition of the great people of the 10th District — good, decent, hardworking people who sent him to Washington, D.C., on their behalf. The time is right now for a person to step forward who fully appreciates the opportunity and the responsibility that comes with serving as the member of Congress from this great district and can truly represent the people of Michigan’s 10th.

“Reading his rant in Politico is not the best way to find out your member of Congress is not seeking reelection.”

Miller declined to comment further.

“Commissioner Miller isn’t commenting further on Rep. Mitchell’s decision. She is thoroughly committed to serving in her current capacity as Macomb County public works commissioner,” Dan Heaton, Miller’s communications manager, said in an email.

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