Rep. Anna Eshoo, religious liberty advocate, won't seek reelection

Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in her Washington, D.C., office, July 31, 2010.
Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in her Washington, D.C., office, July 31, 2010. | Office of Anna Eshoo

Democrat Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California, an elected official who has often worked with conservatives on religious liberty issues in the Middle East, won't be seeking reelection.

In an announcement posted on her congressional website Monday, Eshoo said she would not seek reelection in 2024 after serving over 30 years in the House of Representatives.

“I do so with a heart filled with unending gratitude to you, my magnificent constituents,” she stated. “For three decades, you have given me your trust, and I’ve given every fiber of my being to live up to this sacred trust in every way possible.”

“I’m very proud of the body of bipartisan work I’ve been able to achieve on your behalf in the Congress. Sixty-six of my bills have been signed into law by five presidents.”

Eshoo vowed to “continue my work with vigor and unswerving commitment” and commended her staff for their hard work, saying that “simply put, they are the best.”

She also spoke positively about her constituents in the 16th Congressional District of California, saying they have reinforced her belief that “we are all God’s children.”

Descended from Assyrian and Armenian Christian families, Eshoo often spoke about religious liberty concerns in the Middle East, including the persecution of native Christian communities.  

During the Bush administration, she worked on legislation with Republican Rep. Frank Wolf of Virginia to establish a special envoy in the State Department to focus on the plight of religious minorities in the Holy Land.

In 2014, as the Islamic State terrorist group was violently invading Syria and Iraq, Eshoo told The Christian Post that she believed the mistreatment of religious minorities in the region was a “genocide.”

“What is taking place now are the same stories that my grandmothers have told me of what they witnessed, of what they endured, of the family members who did not make it because they were slaughtered,” Eshoo said at the time.

“I don't think any president wants genocide not dealt with next to their name; it matters not whether it is a Republican administration or a Democratic administration.”

Eshoo championed a House resolution that condemned the actions of the Islamic State and called on the Obama administration to work with the Kurds and others to provide safe havens for persecuted Christians.

Eshoo also co-founded the House’s Religious Minorities in the Middle East Caucus in 2008 along with Wolf and later co-chaired it alongside Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.  

“Eshoo is devoted to the most fundamental of human ideals: the right of persons to practice their faith without fear of persecution,” said Fortenberry in a statement back in 2015.

“At this hour of their great need, the religious minorities of the Middle East need champions of her experience and dedication. I deeply respect Congresswoman Eshoo's continued leadership on the grave challenges facing these vibrant communities, as well as her desire to protect vulnerable persons in the region.”

In 2016, the International Religious Freedom Roundtable awarded Eshoo and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., with their Thomas Jefferson IRF International Religious Freedom Champion Award.

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