Rep. Henry Gonzalez, D-Tex., wants one more term as the House Banking Committee's ranking minority member.

The Texas lawmaker sent letters last week to reelected committee Democrats, asking them to support his bid.

"Together, we defeated Republican efforts to gut critically important housing and consumer protection laws," he said. "I want to build on that success and earnestly solicit your support for another - and last - term as ranking Democrat."

Rep. Gonzalez, who is facing challenges from Reps. John LaFalce of New York and Bruce Vento of Minnesota, said his continued leadership would "maintain Democratic unity."

He would relinquish the ranking spot in 1998 in return for an honorary title, Rep. Gonzalez said.

"I will work toward a smooth transition of leadership, and should I be elected to the 106th Congress, I plan to fully participate in the activities of the committee in an emeritus role," he wrote.

Banking committee members are expected to select their leaders in early December.

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