Who: Dr. Jim McDermott, 79
Retiring as: Longtime Democratic congressman representing the Seattle area.
Major legislative achievements: McDermott, a psychiatrist first elected to his seat in 1988, has been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act, although he has advocated for a single-payer health system throughout his career. He has also promoted more equal pay for primary-care doctors and was an early supporter of improved access to treatments for HIV/AIDS patients.
Before taking office, McDermott was a regional medical officer in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. There he saw the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, which inspired him as a lawmaker to create the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program and launch the Congressional HIV/AIDS Task Force.
Praise from colleagues: Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader and former speaker, applauded McDermott's accomplishments. “Jim fought to ensure the ladders of opportunity were available to all Americans,” she said in a statement. “Whether in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps during the Vietnam War, as a foreign service medical officer, or as a champion of single-payer healthcare … Jim made it his life's work to ensure quality healthcare is available to every American, not just the privileged few.”