As reported in the Washington Post, 25 members of the House of Representatives and 10 Senators will be retiring at the end of the 112th Congress. The Post reports that more incumbents are retiring from Congress than at any other point in the past 16 years.
While a high number of Congressional retirements are not uncommon in a presidential election year, retirements require advocacy organizations to reevaluate their legislative strategy when one of these retirements includes a legislative champion. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity. It is important to remember that just because your champion is leaving Congress, he or she does not stop caring about the issue. The Member of Congress can still provide guidance and sometimes lead the effort to identify and develop a new Congressional champion. It takes a great deal of time to cultivate a Congressional champion, but with each election, there are new Members of Congress with the potential to be a leader for your issue.