Dem Rep. Massa Retires for Health Reasons, But Admits ‘Salty Language’ With Staff
March 3, 2010
(ChattahBox)—Rep. Eric Massa, a freshman Democratic Congressman from a conservative district in New York, announced today that he won’t be seeking a second term due to a reoccurrence with cancer. During his news conference, he berated online blogs for running with the story, that in addition to his health concerns, Massa was the subject of an ethics investigation for sexually harassing a male staffer. Massa dismissed the swirling rumors of sexual harassment, admitting that he at time, used “salty language” which he has apologized for.
Massa’s retirement announcement comes on the same day that 20-term Democratic Congressman Rep. Charlie Rangel from Harlem, New York, was forced to step down from his chairmanship of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, in the wake of numerous ethics investigations.
Massa said in his retirement statement that he was retiring, based on his doctor’s advice, after his cancer returned for the third time in December:
“This last December I underwent my third major cancer recurrence scare. I kept this private only to members of my immediate family. I did not tell my Staff. It was a every intense and personal experience especially in light of having gone through this before. I am a direct, salty guy who runs at 100 miles per hour and my doctors have now clearly told me that I can no longer do that. It is only fair and right that I announce that I will not run again in time for others to consider a run for this office. I will now enter a final phase of my life at a more controlled pace and remained fully committed to helped the families of the 29th District.”
“There are blogs that are saying that I am leaving because of charges of harassing my staff. Do I and have I used salty language? Yes, and I have tried to do better. But these blogs are a symptom of the problem in this city and I no longer have the life’s energy to fight every battle. I make this decision based on being a cancer survivor who following the advice of my doctors in Washington and in New York, cannot and will not prevent others from service in the congress that I hold in such great esteem.”
Massa, a 20-year Navy veteran, comes from a conservative district that voted for McCain in 2008 and has long-been a Republican held seat. But Massa narrowly won his seat in a 51-49 percent vote over former Republican Rep. Randy Kuhl. With the current anti-incumbent fervor across the country, it will be difficult for Democrats to keep the seat.