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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Wexler: 'Decision to leave Congress did not come easy'



U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, formally announced today he'll leave his seat in January to take a job as president of the Center for Middle East Peace. South Florida newspapers are reporting that Wexler is likely to back state Sen. Ted Deutch as his replacement.

“I am proud that everyday I have sought to advocate for and provide a voice to my constituents: whether it was fighting for a legitimate vote during the 2000 election, working toward enacting a voter verified paper trail in Florida, or advocating for health care, education, Social Security and countless other issues. Therefore, my decision to leave Congress did not come easy," Wexler said in a statement.

“Those who know me, and those who have followed my career know that one of my overriding passions has been my work on the Foreign Affairs Committee, helping to strengthen and preserve the unbreakable bond between the United States and Israel, and working toward a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians and between Israel and the Arab world. Additionally, I have made a special effort to improve congressional relations with key allies in the Muslim world by founding the Turkey and Indonesia caucuses. Moreover, it was an extraordinary honor to serve as a Middle East advisor to President Obama during the presidential campaign, and I treasure the experiences I had traveling the country, and especially throughout Florida, advocating for the President’s Middle East agenda.

“Taking over as president of the Center for Middle East Peace offers me an unparalleled opportunity to work on behalf of Middle East peace for an important and influential nonprofit institute. After much discussion with my family, I have decided that I cannot pass up on this opportunity.

“My one regret is that I will be unable to complete my current term in office, but I truly believe there is no time to waste. We are at a unique and critically tense moment in the history of the Middle East with both significant opportunities to succeed in the Arab-Israeli conflict as well as major challenges involving Iran, Hamas, and al Qaeda. In the coming months, Israeli and Arab leaders will be faced with monumental decisions that will dramatically affect the region and the entire world for decades to come. Critically important American security and foreign policy interests are also at stake. I am convinced that now is the time for me to engage on these issues on a full time basis.”


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:22pm]


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