"I want to come home. I want to come home to the state I love so much, California," said U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer made the huge announcement in a most unconventional way Thursday morning. She announced that her political career is coming to an end in a video interview with her grandson Zach.
The video was posted on Boxer's PAC for a Change website. The four-term senator tells her grandson, "I am never going to retire, the work is too important. But, I will not be running for the Senate in 2016."
A staunch supporter of abortion rights, gun control and environmental protections, Boxer has said she is most proud of the vote that she cast against the war in Iraq. She says she still has a long list of things she still wants to accomplish, but after three decades in Washington, it's time to come home to California.
"I'm going continue working on the issues that I love. I'll have more time to help other people through my PAC for a Change community. I have to make sure this senate seat stays progressive that is so critical and I want to help our Democratic candidate for president make history," said Boxer.
VIDEO: Reaction to Sen. Boxer's announcement
Senator Boxer plans to speak with reporters Thursday afternoon about her decision to leave Capitol Hill.
From Boxer's family to her colleagues, proteges and constituents, reaction is pouring in.
Her son calls this bittersweet, but more sweet than bitter.
Doug Boxer says it's been a whirlwind since she made the announcement with phone calls and emails pouring in. He says the family has been key in all this.
It was Doug's idea to have his mom and nephew make this video to announce her decision. He says he talked to his mom today and says she is extremely happy and confident in her decision.
Doug Boxer said the family was constantly getting asked by friends, colleagues and reporters about his mom's plans and they would simply say, she'll decide next year. Now that 2015 is here, it was time to say something.
VIDEO: Possible politicians that could run for Boxer's seat
Possible politicians that could run for Boxer'No one has declared an intention to run for Boxer?s seat, but that has not stopped the speculation since it gives someone a rare opportunity.s seat
No one has declared an intention to run for Boxer's seat, but that has not stopped the speculation since it gives someone a rare opportunity.
"She asked us what we thought. We all thought it would be great to have you home, your 74-years-old and you know it's time to come home and spend the rest of your working life in California. Really the thing that makes me the most proud that she came from a family of immigrants and worked her way to the U.S. Senate as a woman, at the time she did. Really special," said Boxer.
Boxer became a California senator in 1993 at 53-years-old. She's held a public office since being elected to the Marin County Board of Supervisors in 1976. There she became the board's first woman president. She served for six years before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982.
The senator currently chairs the Environment and Public Works committee and Select Committee on Ethics, making her the only senator presiding over two committees simultaneously.
Boxer's colleague Dianne Feinstein released a statement noting Boxer's work on the fight against global warming. It reads in part:
"... It's been an uphill battle, but today we're seeing the success Barbara has had on making climate change a real priority for Americans."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi found out about Boxer's announcement while speaking at a news conference on Capitol Hill.
"She's reached across the aisle, she's reached across our state, which is a glorious state and her leaving will be a great loss to the Congress of the United States, to California and our country," said Pelosi.
Pelosi said Boxer had called her just before the conference and she thought she wanted to have dinner.