U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin does not plan to run for re-election to the seat he has held for more than two decades, he said Tuesday, scrambling the state’s political landscape just weeks into an election year.

Calling his political career “the privilege of a lifetime,” the fifty-seven-year-old Langevin announced his decision in a YouTube video and a guest column in The Providence Journal.

A Democrat, Langevin represents the 2nd Congressional District, which covers the western and southern portion of Rhode Island. He previously served as Rhode Island secretary of state and a state representative from Warwick.

Although he made a pet issue of cyber-security, Langevin is best known for building a career in politics after being paralyzed when he was accidentally shot at age 16 during a visit to the Warwick Police Department. He was the first quadriplegic elected to Congress.

"The story of Jim Langevin will forever be remembered as one of perseverance and a dedication to public service,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, the state’s other member of Congress, said in a statement. “It is one that will inspire our colleagues in government today and the future leaders of our state and nation for generations to come.”

In explaining his decision to not seek re-election, Langevin said it was time for a change.

Although he did not refer to this, Republicans have a strong chance of taking over the U.S. House in elections this year. The congressman’s grit in facing the challenges of being paralyzed has made him a respected figure while also prompting periodic questions about how long he would want to serve in Congress, considering the lengthy preparation required to face each day.

On some level, Langevin's decision is ironic. That's because Rhode Island faced a prospect of losing one of its two congressional seats after the latest Census. As it turned out, both seats were preserved (and few observers expected a head to head match between Langevin and Cicilline).

In his ProJo op-ed, Langevin wrote, “I’ll always cherish the moment that I became the first Congressman in a wheelchair to preside over the House of Representatives as Speaker Pro Tempore, as we marked the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act,” he wrote in his op-ed.

Langevin’s announcement means Rhode Island will see a contest for an open congressional seat for the first time since U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy retired in 2010, alongside what are sure to be heated campaigns for governor and the other state Constitutional offices.

Prospective candidates could include House Speaker Joe Shekarchi, a Warwick Democrat with more than $1 million in his campaign account, and former Cranston Mayor Allan Fung or his wife, state Rep. Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung (R-Cranston). Other state lawmakers may look at the race, including state Sen. Josh Miller (D-Cranston). In a tweet, Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea said she will remain a candidate for governor.

Shekarchi offered accolades for his fellow Warwick Democrat, adding, “Today is a day to recognize his personal achievements and accomplishments, not for future political speculation. I wish Jim all the best in his future endeavors.”

In 2020, former GOP state representative Robert Lancia got 42 percent of the vote, 16 points less than Langevin. Lancia is running again this year.