New York Congressman Gary Ackerman, the co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India, has decided to retire at the end of his current term in the US House of Representatives.
The 69-year-old Democratic lawmaker informed his family, staff, friends and party leaders that he would not seek a 16th term of office, according to a statement issued by his office.
"The residents of Queens and Long Island have honoured me with their trust and support for the past 34 years, first as a New York State Senator, and for the past 15 terms as a Member of Congress," Ackerman said in a statement.
"I've been truly privileged to have had the opportunity to fight for the beliefs of my neighbours in both the State Capital and in the halls of Congress," he said.
"During my years in Congress, it has been my pleasure to address the needs of thousands of individual constituents and to influence domestic and global policy while serving on the Financial and Foreign Affairs Committees in the House," he said.
First elected to the US House of Representatives in 1983, Ackerman is a senior member of the Foreign Affairs and Financial Services committees.
Known as one of the best friends of India and Indian-Americans in the US Congress, Ackerman was co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on India. In 2002, he was awarded India's third highest civilian award the Padma Bhushan for his contributions as member of the India Caucus in the Congress.
In his statement, Ackerman said that he remains extremely passionate about the causes related to his Congressional activities and expects that he will continue to be aggressively involved in many local and global issues as he moves into his role as a private citizen.