Emanuel to Resign House Seat Jan. 2
By Anne E. Kornblut
Rep. Rahm Emanuel let his Illinois constituents know that he is resigning his seat in Congress the old-fashioned way -- with an automated phone call.
"This is Congressman Rahm Emanuel. As you may have heard, President-elect Obama has asked me to be his new Chief of Staff and I have accepted this offer. Therefore, in the near future, I will be resigning from Congress," Emanuel said, according to a transcript of the call.
Emanuel also wrote a resignation letter to embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich -- presumably one of the last times he will be in touch with the governor, whose wiretapped conversations with public officials, including Emanuel, are at the core of his corruption case.
"It has been a tremendous privilege to serve the people of the Fifth District over the past six years," Emanuel wrote. "I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the hopes and dreams of a quintessentially American district, from hardworking families to new immigrants to the senior citizens who built this great country. It has been my particular privilege to represent the district's many military troops and veterans, who put their lives on the line to protect the values we cherish. Their sense of duty and sacrifice has been an inspiration, which I will carry with me to my new duties as chief of staff to President-elect Barack Obama."
Emanuel continued: "As sons of immigrants to this country, you and I have a deep appreciation for the opportunities America provides to those who are willing to work hard and sacrifice for their children. As a member of the next Administration in Washington, I will strive to maintain and expand that opportunity for all families, because the chance to work hard and build a better life is the principle that unites all Americans. Over the past few years, our government in Washington has lost sight of that principle by catering to the wealthiest Americans and powerful special interests -- leaving middle-class Americans to struggle with rising health care costs, reduced pensions and a collapsing economy. The recent election was a clarion call for a change in direction, so we can recapture the values that have made our nation a beacon of hope and opportunity."
Emanuel's resignation takes effect Jan. 2, setting the stage for a special election to fill the seat. The Fifth district seat, previously held by Blagojevich, is likely to wind up in Democratic hands if recent history is any guide.
Web Politics Editor
December 29, 2008; 4:10 PM ET
Categories: B_Blog , Transition
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