Rep. Roybal-Allard Retiring: One of the House ‘Cardinals’

The Story:

Several members of the House of Representatives have indicated in recent days that they are not running for reelection next year. Of these, one who has drawn particular attention is Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D – Calif) who has represented a district of that state for 30 years, and is retiring at the age of 80.


Rep. Roybal-Allard represented the 33d district in California for her first five terms. After successive bouts of redistricting the numbering of districts has repeatedly changed, and she is now the incumbent of the 40th district, representing East Los Angeles and much of South Los Angeles.

She has been a trail-blazer: in 1999 she became the first woman to serve as the chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She is the first Latina to serve as the chair of an Appropriations subcommittee, (the Homeland Security subcommitee). The chairs of Appropriations subcomms in general are known colloquially as the “Cardinals.”

The Thing to Know: 

Neither her retirement nor the ongoing latest round of redrawing of district lines is likely to put at risk any Democratic House seat. But if the Democratic Party retains the majority in the next Congress, her departure may set up a fight over who will be the next to occupy her Homeland Security subcommittee chair, a post that has significant influence on immigration policy.


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