WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Kay Granger’s retirement announcement reverberated around the U.S. Capitol Wednesday with Republicans — including the House majority leader — and Democrats alike praising the Fort Worth Republican.

Granger did not give a reason for not seeking reelection in 2024 for a 15th term in Congress. Following the announcement, colleagues supported her accomplishments and rise to her powerful current position as the first female GOP chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

“I have been able to accomplish more in this life than I could have imagined, and I owe it all to my incredible family, staff, friends, and supporters,” Granger said.

Granger’s announcement was not the only retirement news Wednesday. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, who was a key figure in the toppling of former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, also said he was leaving Congress. 

Granger is one of three representatives who represent the core of Fort Worth. Colleagues from both sides of the aisle who worked together with her on local projects commended her dedication to North Texas.

“Kay has been a great friend of mine for over 40 years,” U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Willow Park, said. “It has been a pleasure to work with her in the House, where together we have accomplished important conservative wins for Texas and our country. She is one of the great public servants of our nation, state and the Fort Worth community.”

Granger spent decades as a trailblazer and an advocate for her constituents, U.S. Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth, said.

“Despite our policy differences, I am incredibly proud to work alongside her to deliver results on a number of key priorities for our shared hometown of Fort Worth,” the Democrat said. “I am grateful to call her a friend, and I wish her all the best in this new chapter.”

Granger was largely a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker until October’s removal of McCarthy, a California Republican.

The Texan was very public as the central figure in the blocking of Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, as successor to the speaker. One reason Granger gave for opposing Jordan was his treatment of House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana.

Scalise, who is close to Granger, withdrew before ever presenting himself for a House vote when Jordan and other Republicans withdrew support. 

Scalise called Granger a conservative leader, barrier breaker and a great friend.

“As the first Republican chairwoman of the Appropriations Committee, she has dedicated herself to reining in wasteful Washington spending and ensuring that hard-working Americans’ taxpayer dollars are spent for them, not against them,” Scalise said. “Her efforts to advance meaningful, fiscally responsible legislation and fulfill our ‘Commitment to America’ have been invaluable, helping us to achieve win after win for the American people.”

Granger has left an impact on Congress, Scalise said.

“While I will miss seeing my good friend in the halls of Congress and working with her to fight for American families, Chairwoman Granger’s legacy of devoted service to the House and to her constituents will last long after her departure,” Scalise said.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn praised Granger for her service.

“From serving on the City Council and as mayor of Fort Worth to her leadership of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Granger’s career exemplifies a commitment to public service and an unyielding dedication to her constituents and the Lone Star State,” Cornyn said. “She’s been a trailblazer for Texas women and I wish her and her family well in this next chapter.”

Granger’s Democratic counterpart on the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, also praised the Texan. DeLauro is the top Democrat on the committee.

“Congresswoman Granger and I have mutual respect and a long history of bipartisan success that have been some of the highlights of my career,” DeLauro said. “The committee and the entire Congress will miss her tenacity and unwavering dedication to making life better for all Americans.”

More statements from members:

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “Kay Granger was not just the most powerful member in the House, not just a dear colleague, but most importantly a dear friend whom I will miss greatly. I thank her for her long and enduring support for the nation and our great state of Texas.”

Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock, a member of the Appropriations Committee: “Kay has been a champion for her district, a trailblazer throughout her career and a fierce advocate for the men and women in uniform. I’ve always greatly admired her no-nonsense approach to leading. In an environment like Washington with a lot of noise, when Kay speaks, people listen. She is a formidable force in the House, and I’m proud to call her a friend.” 

Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Pilot Point, a North Texas colleague: “Kay is a pioneer who paved the way for the next generation of leaders. I am grateful for her example of selfless service. Her political career started as the first woman mayor of Fort Worth, Texas, and she became the first Republican woman to chair the House Appropriations Committee. Kay has made her country and Texas proud. Thank you, Kay, for your service.”

Rep. Jasmine Crockett, D-Dallas, who represents eastern portions of Tarrant County:

“While ideologically, the chair and I disagree, I have an immense amount of respect for her. She represents what it used to look like to be a Republican and take this job seriously. She truly wants government to function, but the current shift of her party to one that simply wants to destroy and is incapable of understanding the basics of democracy and governance can be exhausting. I thank her for her dedicated service to our state and to our country.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, a member of the House Appropriations Committee:

“She is a great legislator. Kay has been a good friend and a good appropriator. She respected and protected the value of the appropriations process. She delivered for Texas, time after time. Texas will greatly miss her.”

Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Waco, said on X, formerly Twitter:  “Kay, thank you for your service. Ever since entering Congress together, we have worked to shape a brighter future for our country. Whether serving as dean of the Texas delegation, bolstering our military’s preeminence, or advancing American foreign policy, you lead the way. I look forward to working with you for the remainder of the 118th Congress.”

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, said: “Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘Well-behaved women rarely make history.’ She didn’t know Kay Granger though — well-behaved, tenacious, outspoken and principled, all in the pursuit of making our country better. I am honored to have her as my chairwoman and colleague.”

Editor’s note: This story was updated Nov. 2, 2023 with statements from U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. John Carter.

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Maria Recio is a reporter based in Washington, D.C. She was a former Fort Worth Star Telegram reporter covering politics.