Watch CBS News

Colorado's Ken Buck leaving Congress because he can't wait until November for his next political steps

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck opens up about abrupt decision to leave Congress this week
U.S. Rep. Ken Buck opens up about abrupt decision to leave Congress this week 02:28

For the first time since announcing he's leaving Congress, Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican who represents Colorado's 4th Congressional District, is talking about why he moved up his departure date.

Special Counsel Robert Hur Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee
Representative Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado, departs a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, DC, on March 12, 2024. Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On the eve of Friday -- his last day in office -- Buck sat down with CBS News Colorado Political Reporter Shaun Boyd to talk about his legislative achievements and what's next for him.

Buck has worked for nearly a decade to change policy and politics from inside the beltway. Now, he says, he will do so outside the beltway, starting with changing how we select candidates for office.

"I'm hoping to do some media and I'm hoping to do some groups, but I haven't decided on a group or exactly what my role with be with any particular groups," Buck said.

He says he can't wait until November to get started.

"Part of it takes fundraising and I can't raise funds for outside groups if I'm in Congress. Part of it involves speaking at times when I would be required to be here to vote. So, it's something where I need to focus a lot of my attention in order to make a difference. And really if it doesn't happen until after November people aren't going to be paying attention for the next few years so this is really the sweet spot in terms of getting involved," he said.

While there has been speculation that Buck, who makes regular appearances on national media outlets, might become a commentator, he ruled it out.

"The only people that aren't speculating about that are the network people," he said.

Buck says he has no plans to be a lobbyist either, but he will continue to champion causes like small government, less debt and the break-up of big tech. He wrote a book about the dangers of monopolies like Amazon and passed a package of anti-trust bills.
His legislative achievements also include making Camp Amache part of the national park system and preventing workplace non-disclosure agreements from silencing victims of sexual harassment. But his clashes with MAGA Republicans have drawn the most attention in recent years.

Buck says the party changed, he didn't.

"I came here to represent conservatives. And I'm going to stay in that lane and not try to justify my position."

He says the constitution -- not the Republican caucus -- guided his decisions.

"I'm not here to lie to my voters. I'm not here to lie to Coloradans or Americans. I'm here to follow the Constitution. It is the rulebook we should abide by in Congress."

Buck won office by 35 points in 2014. This year, he would have likely faced a challenge from the right. He says that did not factor into his decision to retire.

"I have never backed down from a fight and I never will back down from a fight," Buck said.

"I'm most proud of the fact that I came here to do the job and I'm the same person I was when I came here and I'm going to continue to do that job up until the time that I leave on Friday."

He says he won't endorse anyone in the race to replace him, but he offered up some advice to his successor.

"Don't let the money and the prestige and all the bells and whistles distract from the very important job that we have to do here and that's to solve problems for the American people."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.