LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- U.S. Congressman Tony Cárdenas held a press conference on Monday in which he announced that he would not seek re-election to the House of Representatives in 2024.
For the past 28 years, Cárdenas has served District 29 representing the San Fernando Valley. He says he is proud of his work.
"It's an honor to do so every single day, fighting not only for this community in the northeast valley, but fighting for what is best for the country as a whole," said Cárdenas.
The 60-year-old congressman was the first Latino to represent the district in the United States House of Representatives. His campaign manager at the time was current U.S. Senator Alex Padilla.
"I knew that if somebody like Tony, with his values and ethics could be elected, then there would be hope for a better California and so that's why I stood up," said Padilla.
On Monday, surrounded by family and friends, he spoke of the strong values of his parents. Andres and Maria Cardenas Elementary School is named after them. Officials wanted to name it after him but Cárdenas felt it was more appropriate to name it for the people that came to America for a better life for their family.
"It is their shoulders that I stand on, people who taught me and my 10 brothers and sisters what it truly is to be an American and to appreciate this great country," said Cárdenas.
Cárdenas says that he's not going to completely retire. When he's out of office in 13 months he will spend more time with his family and then look for new opportunities in the future.
His departure now paves the way for what could become a contentious race for his predominantly Democratic seat in the San Fernando Valley.