(Victor Valley) — Word is starting to spread that Congressman Jerry Lewis had been making phone calls to supporters Monday indicating that he is not running for re-election. There has been no confirmation from Lewis’ office, although a spokesman did say a decision from Mr. Lewis could come soon.
Terry Caldwell, Victorville Mayor Emeritus, who has known Congressman Lewis personally for many years, shared his thoughts on the news “I’ve not really heard it confirmed. So, for me it’s still kind of an open question. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made the decision to retire, I would be disappointed, but I certainly would understand.”
Caldwell went on to explain why he would be disappointed if Lewis does, in fact, decide to retire, “I strongly lean towards people who are first conservative, and he is. But just as importantly people who understand the necessity of compromise and the fact that we do have a two party process and Jerry was one who would reach across the aisle, to use an old cliché, to make things happen, to get legislation passed. To make sure that projects that were good for his constituents through-out the district, but specifically the Victor Valley came to be.”
He continued, “That is a hard quality to develop, and takes years when you consider the seniority system in Congress, just don’t go back there as a rookie Congressman and shake up the place and work wonders. Jerry Lewis is one of the most senior members of Congress and to lose him and to try to replace him is going to be an extraordinarily difficult task.”
Representative Jerry Lewis, 79, a former chairman of the Appropriations Committee, came to Congress in 1978. He had been mulling which district he would run in after California’s redistricting panel split up his Inland Empire district. His retirement would come after 34 years in office.
Victorville Mayor Ryan McEachron who is running to fill the Congressional seat for the newly re-drawn 8th district had this to say about Lewis’ possible retirement, “I think Congressmen Lewis has served our area well for the 30+ years he’s been in office, and I have tremendous respect for him. I can’t imagine that this was an easy decision for him to get to, but I’m obviously looking forward to running here in the 8th.”
Mceachron continued, “For me looking to run in this new 8th district, there was always a thought that he might consider running here. Now that it is pretty much out there that he is going to retire, that validates all of the work that I have done in preparing to run. I’ve been working on gathering endorsements, raising money, I have a website up and running, so I was doing this all in preparation for him ultimately to let us all know that first he wasn’t going to run in the 8th, and second that he might be retiring. I’m out there, I’m prepared, I’m out in front of this decision, and well positioned to even gain more momentum as we move forward.”
Victorville City Council member Angela Valles is also running. High Desert Daily tried to reach her for comment, but she did not return phone calls on Tuesday.
The election for the 8th district will be held on November 6, 2012.