The Washington Times - January 19, 2012, 12:15PM

Rep. Maurice D. Hinchey, New York Democrat, announced Thursday he won’t seek an 11th term, saying it was “the right time for me to move on.”

“While part of me is sad that there won’t be another campaign this year, I am very much at peace with my decision and excited and ready for this next chapter in my life,” said the New York lawmaker.

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Mr. Hinchey, 73, will serve out his current term, which expires in January 2013. He formally announced his decision during an afternoon media event at the Senate House State Historic Site in Kingston, N.Y., where he launched his first campaign for Congress in 1992.

While Mr. Hinchey said he doesn’t have definitive plans upon leaving office, he said he hopes to “write, travel and spend more time with my family and friends.”

The Democrat said New York’s upcoming redistricting process, which is expected to stretch out for several more months, was a factor in the timing of his decision.

“I do not know — nor do even those directly involved in the process — how redistricting will shape out, but I do feel that it is fair for those important upcoming decisions to be made with my future plans publicly known,” he said.

Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel, a fellow New Yorker, called Mr. Hinchey “a champion for Hudson Valley and Finger Lakes families.”

“Maurice has been a leading progressive voice and fought tirelessly to create jobs and protect tax breaks for the middle class and small businesses,” Mr. Israel said. “He also has advocated for Wall Street reform and investing in clean energy manufacturing and renewable energy.”

Mr. Hinchey has undergone two surgeries for colon cancer. The Middletown (N.Y.) Times Herald-Record reported that Mr. Hinchey has denied he is leaving office for health reasons.

The lawmaker, who has served in the House since early 1993, sits on the House Appropriations Committee. He previously served 18 years in the New York State Assembly.

He is the first House Democrat in 2012 to announce retirement. Six House Republicans this month have said they will step down when their terms expire next January.