BOSTON (CBS) - Rep. Barney Frank of Newton will not seek re-election to Congress in 2012.
Frank, a Democrat, formally announced his retirement in a news conference at Newton City Hall Monday afternoon.
He told reporters he now plans to work on writing, teaching and lecturing.
"I don't ever have to pretend to be nice to people I don't like," Frank said about his leaving office.
WBZ's Jon Keller is at large:
He was first elected to Congress in 1980 and has served 16 terms. He's 71 years old.
Frank is also the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee.
A lifelong liberal, he was one of the first members of Congress to announce that he is gay.
He represents the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts, which was recently redrawn.
Read: Current District Map
Read: New District Map
It's losing heavily Democratic New Bedford, but keeping Brookline, Newton and Wellesley.
Frank said he had planned to run one more time, but the new redistricting map became an issue, because there are now thousands of people in his district that he has never represented.
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"It's a big loss for Massachusetts and a big loss for the country," Gov. Deval Patrick said.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Bernice Corpuz spoke with Democrats
"Congressman Frank and I may have been on opposite sides of the political aisle, but we also found issues of common purpose where we worked together, such as standing up for our state's veterans and fishermen. I have always admired his tenacity and advocacy, and respect his service on behalf of Massachusetts," Sen. Scott Brown said in a statement.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030's Lana Jones reports
"This country has never had a Congressman like Barney Frank, and the House of Representatives will not be the same without him," President Obama said in a statement.
"Barney's passion and his quick wit will be missed in the halls of Congress, and Michelle and I join the people of the Bay State in thanking him for his years of service."
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