Lantos has cancer, will not run again

Fellow politicians expressed their best wishes today to Congressman Tom Lantos, D-San Mateo, who announced this morning he will not seek re-election next term after learning he has esophagus cancer.

Lantos spoke with his chief of staff today about the future of the district he represents and is “taking these developments in stride,” Lantos' spokeswoman Lynne Weil said.

“He has been receiving lots of calls to the office as well as at home,” Weil said. “Lots of people want to wish him well and he appreciates that.”

Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor to be elected to Congress, is a senior member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the founding co-chairman of the 24-year-old Congressional Human Rights Caucus. He was also elected chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in January 2007.

Lantos was diagnosed with esophagus cancer in mid-December and is considering a variety of treatments including chemotherapy and radiation, according to Weil.

“(Lantos) is making plans both for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and for his district,” Weil said.

Lantos, who turns 80 on Feb. 1, is serving his 14th term. He expects to serve until the end of his congressional year, which ends in December 2008.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., today expressed her warm wishes to Lantos and said she looks forward to continuing to work with him.

“I have been very proud to be a supporter andcolleague of Tom Lantos,” Feinstein said in a prepared statement. “I wish him well as he fights this disease.”

Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, said today he wishes the best for Lantos as well and that he believes Lantos “will fight this disease with all the vigor in his heart, as he has done on the key issues facing our country and our community for decades.”

Of San Mateo County, which is represented by both Yee and Lantos, Yee said, “In the coming days, we will take a hard look at the challenges this district faces in filling the shoes of Congressman Lantos. But today is not the day to be thinking about future political office.”

— Bay City News

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