Doc Hastings to Retire From Congress

By Tom Bacon

A powerful Washington State Republican congressman is retiring after a long political career. He was named Richard Norman Hastings by his parents in Spokane, but nobody's known him as anything but Doc since he was a kid. Doc Hastings was elected to the U.S. House in 1995, after serving in, and voluntarily leaving, the Washington State House where he served from 1979 to 1987.

In a brief statement Thursday, Hastings said he's turned 73, and that "while I have the ability and seniority to continue serving central Washington, it's time for voters to choose a new person with new energy."

It's unlikely that his 4th Congressional District seat will go to Democrats. He easily won his last few elections with comfortable majorities, and his central and southeastern Washington district went for Mitt Romney in 2012 by a 60-to-38-percent margin.

After a controversial term as chair of the House Ethics Committee, Hastings was appointed chairman of the Natural Resources Committee in 2011 when GOP re-took control of the House. Hastings has also been a persistent burr under the Obama administration's saddle. Just last month he issued congressional subpoenas to the Interior Departement, saying that requests for information are ignored, documents are heavily redacted and witnesses are not forthcoming.

Hastings is the latest of several close allies of Speaker John Boehner to announce his retirement.
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