California Rep. Sam Farr (D), a champion for defense community issues on both the national and local level since entering Congress more than 22 years ago, announced Thursday that he plans to retire at the end of his term.
In a social media post announcing his decision not to seek re-election to his Monterey-based district in the state’s Central Coast, Farr recounted one of the enduring efforts he has dealt with since he first came to Washington — the redevelopment of the former Fort Ord.
“When I first came to Congress, Fort Ord had just been closed and the community was going through an economic upheaval. Gangs were starting to take hold in Salinas and agriculture was slowly evolving from canned and frozen packaging to fresh-to-table.
“I saw all these challenges as opportunities and I acted on them. Fort Ord is now economically stable and growing,” Farr said.
To help the region successfully convert the post to civilian uses, Farr worked to provide the Army funds to clean up contamination and unexploded ordnance littering the installation, and to accelerate the property’s transfer to the local governments. More recently, he helped persuade President Obama to declare parts of the installation a national monument.
Farr’s support for legislation establishing the no-cost economic development conveyance for BRAC properties and, later, legislation relaxing the requirement for the military to seek fair market value for closed bases benefitted Fort Ord and all base closure communities.
Farr, a frequent speaker at ADC conferences, has served as co-chair of the House Defense Communities Caucus since it was created in 2011. In 2012, he sponsored legislation that now permits all military installations to adopt the “Monterey Model” and enter into intergovernmental support agreements with their host communities.
For his long-standing advocacy for defense communities, ADC presented Farr its Senator David Pryor Special Achievement Award in 2007.
“I love public service and I am proud of what I have accomplished while in office,” Farr said during his announcement at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. “I’m proud to have followed in my father’s footsteps, the late Senator Fred Farr, and I’d like to think between the two of us we have had a tremendous impact on this region, the state of California and the country we love so much.”
Farr’s congressional district is expected to remain in Democratic hands following his retirement, reported CQ.