In what will be no more than a quick picture and sound bite on the national news coverage, ending speculation of will he or won't he, the four term Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman flanked by his wife Hadassah, their children, their spouses and grandchildren announced that he would retire at the end of his fourth term at a press conference at the Stamford Marriott Hotel today.
The reason I have decided not to run for re-election in 2012 is best expressed in the wise words from Ecclesiastes: 'To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under Heaven.' At the end of this term, I will have served 24 years in the U.S. Senate and 40 years in elective office. For me, it is time for another season and another purpose under Heaven.
It was just a year ago that former Senior Senator, Christopher Dodd announced his retirement on the snowy steps of his Connecticut River home. As when Dodd made his announcement, politicians have quickly jumped sending out laudatory announcements congratulating Lieberman: CT Governor Dannel P. Malloy released the following statement after Senator Joe Lieberman announced his retirement.
Joe Lieberman has been a steadfast and ardent advocate on behalf of the people of Connecticut throughout his career, and I know he'll continue to help lead the delegation over the next two years. When you've worked in politics for as long as Joe and I have, you very rarely come across the kind of person who is never afraid to tell you where he stands -- no matter the polling or the popularity of the issue at hand. I have never had to wonder where Joe stands or in what he believes. His body of work across his time in public service is to be commended, and in his retirement, Connecticut is losing an effective voice on its behalf.
Of course, if CT voters elect the Democratic nominee, they will still have an effective voice in the Senate, just saying.
In a blue state, with the newly elected democratic Governor, the handwriting has been on the wall for Senator Lieberman since the 2006 primary debacle that forced him to run as an independent against Greenwich businessman Democrat Ned Lamont. Lieberman won in part by Republican crossover votes due to a weak Republican candidate. That scenario is not likely to occur in 2012 and candidates on both sides are starting to throw their hats into the ring, each vying for the coveted position.
Introduced by Lieberman's wife as "Joey" he began amongst applause to recount his past 22 years as a Senator, the highlights, the wins and the difficult choices he made while acknowledging those who stood by him through his 40 years of public service and tough political campaigns.
I know that some people have said that if I ran for reelection, it would be a difficult campaign for me. But what else is new? It probably would be. I have run many difficult campaigns before -- from my first one in 1970 against the incumbent Democratic State Senate Majority Leader, to my 1988 campaign against the incumbent Republican U.S. Senator, to my campaign for re-election to the Senate in 2006 at the height of the controversy over the Iraq war. In all three of those elections most observers and pollsters thought I would not win. But with a lot of help from Independents, Democrats and Republicans -- including many of you here today -- in each case I did win.
I've never shied from a good fight and I never will.
While he could have staged his announcement anywhere within Connecticut, he choose the Stamford Marriott, standing near what had been his grandmothers' second floor cold water flat that was torn down during the 1960's urban renewal push that helped to elevate downtown Stamford from a city on a downward slide into what is now the US Headquarters of UBS and RBS and many other national and international name recognized companies.
Lieberman's last two years in the Senate will define his legacy. And we can only hope that they will bring out the best for all of the residents of Connecticut and the country. So for every season there is a purpose, one has to wonder, what Joe's next chapter will be.