NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Harlem Congressman Charles Rangel is retiring at the end of this year after 23 terms in the House of Representatives.
The 85-year-old has spent 46 years on Capitol Hill. Rangel had announced that he would retire ahead of his last campaign. He said he wanted to leave office at the same time as the first black president, and survived a bruising primary in 2014 to do so.
“I wanted so badly to complete the last year with President Obama, and even though they never gave him a fair opportunity to do all the things that I really had dreamed that we could do together, I would be so annoyed with myself had I retired a couple of years ago,” Rangel told WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving.
Rangel says Hillary Clinton is going to win the democratic nomination because she has strong support among African Americans and as he put it, “Bernie doesn’t know enough of us.”
He was 20-year-old dropout when he came out of the Korean War, wounded and decorated. Rangel turned that life around, finishing high school, New York University and St. John’s Law School. He was elected to the State Assembly and then to Congress in 1970, defeating the legendary Harlem Congressman Adam Clayton Powell
After working his entire career toward the chairmanship of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, Rangel lost it in 2010 in an ethics scandal and was censured by the House of Representatives.
“Am I sorry it happened? You bet your life!” Rangel told WCBS 880.
At the same time, Rangel was voted the most effective legislator in the United States Congress during that period. He is widely known as one of the most influential lawmakers in the House and considered a prime contributor to Obama’s historic health care reform law.