Longtime Silicon Valley Congresswoman Anna Eshoo won’t seek re-election

After serving more than three decades in Congress, U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo announced Tuesday that she won’t seek re-election, opening the door for local Democrats in what is expected to be a hotly contested and expensive race to be the next representative for the Silicon Valley.

Eshoo’s looming retirement makes her the second longtime Bay Area congresswoman to step down from the U.S. House in the coming year. U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, an Oakland Democrat, revealed in February that she would not seek re-election in order to run for former Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat.

The two open congressional seats could dramatically shift politics in the Bay Area, a region that’s become more of a stronghold for incumbents than any other metropolitan area in the country. Five of the 12 current Bay Area representatives have served for more than two decades in Washington, D.C., compared to the average of 12 years for House members in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Seattle, a recent Bay Area News Group analysis found.

In a video posted on social media, Eshoo, who turns 81 next month, said she made the announcement with a “heart filled with unending gratitude” to her constituents in California’s 16th Congressional District, which stretches from Pacifica in the north to San Jose, Los Gatos and Pescadero to the south.

The Palo Alto lawmaker started her political career on the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors in 1982 and served for a decade before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1992.

“As the first woman and the first Democrat to ever represent our district, I’m very proud of the body of bipartisan work I’ve been able to achieve on your behalf in Congress,” Eshoo said. “Sixty-six of my bills have been signed into law by five presidents, including the preservation of lands here at home, landmark advancements in women’s health, the creation of two federal agencies to promote research and development — one to advance biotechnology and one to pursue cures to the deadliest disease we have yet to concur.”