CHICAGO (CBS) — U.S. Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) has endorsed Karin Norington-Reaves for the 1st District seat he’s held since 1993.

“I am thrilled to receive the endorsement from Rep. Bobby Rush, a giant and storied leader for the 1st district, who has so ably represented us for thirty years. While these are big shoes to fill, I believe that I am the right person for this responsibility,” said Norington-Reaves, CEO of Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership.

She added “I love serving this community and  I am ready to get to work to create more jobs, to make our streets safer, and to make sure our working families have the resources they need not only to survive, but thrive.”

Earlier this month, the longtime U.S. Representative announced he would not seek reelection this year for a 16th term. Rush will serve out the remainder of his current term.

“I know in my heart and spirit that Karin Norington-Reaves is the person best suited for this responsibility,” said Rush. “Her creativity, passion, energy, and innovative spirit will make her a tremendous representative. She has worked in and for the community for decades and has been an unwavering advocate for Chicagoland’s people and businesses.”

Last week, Chicago Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) announced she would run for the 1st District seat, dropping her bid for Illinois Secretary of State.

Rush, 75, has represented the 1st District of Illinois in Congress since 1993, and before that served for 10 years on the Chicago City Council.

Rush, said as a young civil rights activist, he could not have envisioned serving 10 years on the Chicago City Council and then 30 years in Congress. Rather, he said thought he would be dead before age 30, especially after fellow Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated on Dec. 4, 1969, during a raid on the party’s West Side headquarters by police and federal agents, ordered by then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan.

Rush insisted he’s not retiring but taking on a different role.

“I’m going to be crystal clear to anyone who is confused. I am not retiring, I am returning. Therefore, I will not be running for a 16th term in the U.S. House of Representatives. For me, I have a higher calling, and I am answering that higher calling: to continue my mission, my definite chief aim in life from a different perspective,” he said. “In some sense, it’s not a new beginning. In some sense, it’s another layer. In some sense, the spirit of the Black Panther Party still is alive and well in me. Serving the people, body and soul.”

My Block, My Hood, My City founder Jahmal Cole previously announced he is running for Rush’s district. Also having declared their candidacy are Pastor Chris Butler, teachers Kirby Birgans and Dee Nix, and Michael Thompson.

Activist Ja’Mal Green said Monday night that he is also “strongly considering” running for the seat.

Sources also told CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov that state Sen. Jacqui Collins (D-Chicago) is seriously eyeing a run for Rush’s seat, at the urging of lawmakers.

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