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Democratic Aides: Rep. Jane Harman To Resign From House

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(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Longtime Democratic Rep. Jane Harman plans to resign from the House and is in line to become the next president of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

In an e-mail to constituents on Monday, Harman said she filed paperwork notifying House officials that she was in discussions to succeed former Rep. Lee Hamilton, D-Ind., as the head of the center.

“I send this note because a decision is imminent and I wanted you to hear the news from me first,” Harman wrote. “This is an excruciating decision because the distinction of representing the smartest constituents on earth will never be surpassed — nor will my relationships with my exceptional staff and colleagues in Congress. But shaping and leading the Wilson Center is a thrilling new challenge.”

Hamilton stepped down from the position at the end of November, and the center’s board of trustees is expected to choose a successor on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old Harman told constituents that “should this opportunity come to pass, I would be required to resign my seat,” Harman wrote. “But please know that I would remain in Congress for some weeks and do everything possible to ensure an orderly transition to whomever is elected to succeed me.”

The center is an institute designed to bring leading experts on various issues to Washington to interact with policymakers.

Harman represents a Democratic-safe district that includes several beach front communities in suburban Los Angeles such as Venice and Redondo Beach. She was first elected to the House is 1992. After losing a race for governor, she regained the seat in 2000.

Harman is a leading voice for Democrats on intelligence and homeland security issues. She is a member of the “Blue Dog caucus,” a group of moderate and conservative Democrats.

“I have always believed that the best solutions to tough problems require a bipartisan approach,” she told constituents. “And bipartisanship is the center’s brand,” she said, adding that the position would give her a unique opportunity to involve political leaders and experts in debates over the most pressing foreign and domestic policy issues.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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