US Rep. Costello Won’t Pursue Another Term

October 04, 2011

(With additional reporting from The Associated Press)

Longtime Illinois Congressman Jerry Costello says he won't run again because he plans to pursue other interests. The 62-year-old Belleville Democrat on Tuesday announced that he won't seek re-election next year.

Costello has been in office since August 1988, when he was picked to fill the term of the late U.S. Rep. Melvin Price. Costello serves in the 12th District, which includes Belleville, East St. Louis, Alton and Carbondale.

Costello is the senior Democrat on the House's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the second-ranking Democrat on the Science, Space and Technology Committee. Looking back on his career, Costello said he's most proud of securing a future for Scott Air Force Base, and seeing construction start on the new Mississippi River Bridge. He said that it has been his plan to not stay in Congress forever.

"It's about a personal decision to pursue other things in my life," Costello said. "You have to make a decision - do you want to continue to do what you're doing just to do it, or do you want to move on and do other things and be productive in other ways."

Costello said he'll remain in the Metro East area, and wants to teach and do some charity work. He also said he will support the Democratic candidate who best represents the principles of the party and the 12th congressional district.

"Anyone who has an interest in running who has similar views that I have I would ask you to step forward," Costello said. "I will take look at the candidates and make a decision then if I am going to get involved in supporting a particular candidate in the primary of next year."

There's been speculation about whether or not Costello's son would succeed him in office. His son, also named Jerry, is currently a Democratic member of the Illinois House of Representatives. Costello said his son has no interest in running for Congress at this time.

Meanwhile, Democrat Jay Hoffman, who's already announced his candidacy in the new 13th Congressional District, said this isn't the time for speculation on any future political considerations. He said now should be a time to honor Costello and his list of accomplishments.

President Barack Obama said Costello has "proudly'' represented southern Illinois in the U.S. Congress as a "fierce advocate'' for improving transportation infrastructure. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn calls Costello a "tireless advocate'' for his district. Congressman John Shimkus calls Costello's decision a "great loss for southern Illinois'' as well as a personal loss.

But the head of the Illinois Republican Party is cheering the news. Pat Brady said replacing Costello with a GOP candidate would be one of that party's top priorities next year. He said the district has been trending Republican for several years, and he's buoyed by recent GOP victories in Illinois congressional and state senate races.

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Story source: AP