Washington Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib will not seek re-election, will join the Jesuits

Cyrus Habib
Credit: Lieutenant Governor

OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib announced Thursday he will not seek re-election and will instead pursue a new career path.

Habib said he will be joining the Society of Jesus, a decision that followed two years of careful and prayerful discernment.

“Many will be wondering why someone who has spent the last eight years climbing the political ladder and who has a not insignificant chance of acceding to the governorship next year, would trade a life of authority for one of obedience,” Habib said in a statement.

Habib was first elected as a state representative in 2012. He became a state senator in 2014 and took over his current position in 2016.

“My reasons for running for those positions and my priorities in office were firmly rooted in Catholic social teaching, which places the poor, the sick, the disabled, the immigrant, the prisoner and all who are marginalized at the center of our social and political agenda,” he said.

Habib, who is Iranian and blind, said he knew from childhood what it was like to be excluded.

“I have tried to use the power I have been given by the voters to ensure that we move urgently toward that day when no one will feel left behind or left out in our society,” he said.

Habib said it is this belief that led him to introduce legislation to establish statewide paid sick leave and to sponsor the Washington Voting Rights act.

“Over the past couple of years, I have felt called to a different vocation, albeit one that is also oriented around service and social justice,” he said. “I have felt a calling to dedicate my life in a more direct and personal way to serving the marginalized, empowering the vulnerable, healing those who suffer from spiritual wounds and accompanying those discerning their own futures. For me, this is rooted in my faith in Christ’s Gospel.”