Harman Says Decision to Leave Congress ‘Excruciating’

Posted February 7, 2011 at 2:03pm

Rep. Jane Harman called it “an excruciating decision” to resign from Congress to lead the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a move that was made public Monday.

“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,” the California Democrat wrote in a letter to constituents, which was obtained by Roll Call.

Harman, who served as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee from 2003 to 2006, filed paperwork Monday with the House to resign her seat. The Woodrow Wilson Center’s board of directors is expected to officially select Harman as its new president on Tuesday; she will succeed former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) in that role.

“I have always believed that the best solutions to tough problems require a bipartisan approach, and bipartisanship is the Center’s ‘brand,’” Harman’s letter states. “Serving at its helm provides unique opportunities to involve the House and Senate, top experts, and world leaders in ‘great debates’ about the most pressing foreign and domestic policy matters.”