California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer to retire 

click to enlarge In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boxer said Thursday she won't seek re-election after 4th term. - AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA, FILE
  • AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File
  • In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. Boxer said Thursday she won't seek re-election after 4th term.

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer of California announced Thursday she will not seek re-election in 2016 to a fifth term in office.

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.

The 74-year-old Boxer made the announcement in a video, answering questions posed from her grandson.

"I am never going to retire. The work is too important. But I will not be running for the Senate in 2016," Boxer said.

Boxer said her age was not a factor in her decision, nor was infighting in the Senate. "I feel as young as I did when I got elected," Boxer said.

She was first elected to the House in 1982 and then to the Senate one decade later. It was an election that marked a watershed year for women in politics. with four winning U.S. Senate seats, including fellow California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Boxer is a tenacious, unapologetic liberal. She authored legislation that has designated more than 1 million acres of land in California as wilderness, a classification that is the highest level of protection and generally does not allow for motor vehicles, new roads and mining. She also led efforts to prevent oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.

However, she has failed to help pass meaningful legislation to curb global warming, a longtime goal that still appears distant.

Boxer would have been a prohibitive favorite to win if she had sought re-election in strongly Democratic California. Republicans have found it exceedingly difficult to find a candidate who can compete statewide in California.

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