It’s true, U.S. Rep. Albio Sires (D-8) told InsiderNJ, referring to his imminent retirement.
“I am leaning toward retiring, yes,” said the very nearly 71-year-old former West New York Mayor and former speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly, who became the congressman in 2006.
Sires filled the congressional seat of Bob Menendez when then-Governor Jon Corzine tapped the latter to serve as U.S. Senator. Corzine had given up the senate seat to become governor.
Now, sires has many positive things to say about Menendez’s son, Port Authority Commissioner Robert Menendez, Jr., to serve as his successor in the congressional seat.
“He’s an excellent choice,” Sires told InsiderNJ. “He’s smart and likeable, has hte right sentiment for the job, and he knows all the players. I mean, who are you going to put up there? If he’s the choice, I’m going to support him.”
A day after U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, Democrat from West Virginia, said he wouldn’t support the Build Back Better bill, Sires acknowledged a difficult climate in Washington, D.C.
“It is very frustrating,” said the congressman from West New York. “I’ve been there 16 years, and I want to go out on my own terms. I never thought I would be here that long. To be honest, my health hasn’t been that great.”
He lingered on the federal politics.
“It’s becoming a real drag, the division you have there,” the congressman said.
The former Republican particularly noted those on the left in the Congressional Democratic Caucus.
“I don’t share those views,” Sires said. “That’s not Hudson County. They’re driving everybody so far to the left, and that’s not how the country should be governed. The country should be governed from the middle.”
He did say he approves of President Joe Biden.
“The President is doing an excellent job,” Sires said. “What Manchin is doing is disappointing, but we put too many things in one bill.”
He said he is hopeful of restoring key agenda items in a revived 2022 bill, including the SALT Tax deduction especially craved by New Jersey Democrats who occupy battleground districts.
“Every one of those things can be taken out and put in another bill, or bills,” Sires said. “Part of the problem with the Democrats’ message right now is throwing so many things in.”
While he seemed fairly keen on not running again, Sires said he plans to make a formal announcement about his intentions at the end of January.
One thing, he said, is always certain.
“I’m very grateful to the country,” Sires said.
Later in the day, the congressman issued a complete statement.
STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSMAN ALBIO SIRES
“Working for the residents of New Jersey, and in particular the 8th Congressional District, has been the honor of a lifetime., said Congressman Sires. As a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, I consider the recent passing of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the billions of dollars we are delivering to fix New Jersey’s infrastructure – including the Hudson River Tunnels – as the capstone to a career of service. I’m also incredibly proud to have voted for the transformational Build Back Better Act – a historic investment in our nation’s future.
“From my service as Mayor of West New York, to my time in the New Jersey State Legislature – including as the first Hispanic Speaker of the New Jersey General Assembly – to my service in Congress, I have always put our hard-working families first. Whether it was raising the minimum wage, creating affordable housing, increasing funding for public education, or funding critical cancer research, I am proud of my service to our residents.
“While my time in Congress will come to an end, my commitment to service remains as strong as ever, and I look forward to remaining active in Hudson County and especially my hometown of West New York,”