US Representative Gary Ackerman, one of Taiwan’s best friends on Capitol Hill, has announced that he will not seek re-election.
A member of the US Congress for 30 years, he was a founder member of the Taiwan Caucus and cosponsored multiple pieces of Taiwan-related legislation.
“He will be sorely missed,” said Coen Blaauw, an official with the Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA).
Blaauw added: “As a senior member of the [US] House Foreign Affairs Committee he has been a strong and outspoken voice of support for full democracy and sovereignty for the people of Taiwan.”
Ackerman, 69, a Democrat, has a reputation for being particularly close to the large Asian population in his district of Queens and Long Island, New York.
Analysts said that he would easily have been re-elected for a 16th term if had decided to run again.
The New York Times said Ackerman’s decision not to run was unexpected and “baffled” his colleagues.
In a statement he said only that he remained passionate about the causes he supported and that he would continue to be aggressively involved in many local and global issues as a private citizen.
Privately, he has said that he will be doing something “just as challenging and fulfilling as Congress.”
However, he has not revealed details of future plans.
Under Congressional rules, Ackerman will not actually leave office until the end of this year.