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Just got this letter from Marty Meehan (MA-05) to step down July 1st to become Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts. Losing a Dem congressman is never a good thing, however Congress's loss is hopefully a U-Mass gain.

More to follow...........

Here is the letter I received in my inbox just a few minutes ago...

As a kid growing up in Lowell, I never dreamed of being fortunate enough to represent you in the U.S. Congress, let alone for more than 14 years.

As you may know, earlier this month the Board of Trustees of the University of Massachusetts voted to offer me the opportunity to serve as the next Chancellor of UMass Lowell. After much reflection and discussion with my wife, Ellen, and many friends, I decided to accept the position and will step down from Congress on July 1st.

It was not an easy decision. In fact, it was the most difficult personal and professional decision of my life. But it was the right decision. Public service has always been about working to give future generations better opportunities than I had. And I believe that the best way to contribute to our shared future is by helping to lead one of our great universities. I owe everything to my public education in Lowell's schools and at UMass and I am intent on repaying that debt - with interest.

Much of my work in Congress has focused on the economic revitalization of Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill and the Merrimack Valley. Canals and mills once powered our economy, but now our economy runs on the power of our minds. The agenda is straightforward: bring jobs to the region, help new technologies develop, and enable more people to gain the skills necessary for survival and success in a global economy. UMass Lowell is at the center of that agenda and the opportunity to lead the university at this crucial time was too appealing to turn down.

My hero, Robert F. Kennedy, once said, "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events." Looking back on my time in Congress, I am proud to have worked hard every day to live up to this aspiration.

Serving in Congress is a surprisingly personal and intimate experience. It has been profoundly moving to play a part in the lives of so many of the residents of the district. The images pass before my eyes: seeing a tear welling in an older man's eye when he gets the medal he earned in World War II but was never awarded; swearing in a group of new American citizens; dedicating the Massachusetts 9/11 memorial and working to assist the families and children of the victims.

It was only with your outcry that we were able to take on Big Tobacco and hold companies accountable for their lies, pass landmark legislation curbing the corrupting influence of money in government, and demand that our men and women in uniform be provided with the equipment and resources they need to protect our country.

While I'm proud of the legislative success we've had in Washington, I'm most proud of the partnerships we built to spur economic development in our cities and preserve open space in Massachusetts.

We leveraged millions of dollars in federal grants and private investments to bolster redevelopment in Lowell, Lawrence, Methuen and Haverhill. Together, we helped hundreds of workers get back on their feet after the tragic fire at the Malden Mills factory. When faced with the closure of Fort Devens, we collaborated with the private sector and every level of government and ultimately created more civilian jobs than were lost when the base closed. Our efforts now serve as the national model for base redevelopment. In the downtowns of Lawrence and Haverhill, we secured infrastructure improvements that will be critical to those cities' economic future. And from Walden Woods to Great Meadows and Oxbow National Wildlife Refuges, we succeeded in preserving over 10,000 acres of open space.

Many challenges still face our country and our state, from the number of families without health insurance, to the necessity of changing direction and ending the war in Iraq, to the unmet needs of our veterans. But I am confident that the Fifth District's next representative in Congress will join Senators Kennedy and Kerry and the rest of the Massachusetts delegation to provide leadership on these and other crucial issues.

For my part, I plan to spend my last few months in Congress continuing my work for Speaker Pelosi's task force on ethics, to enact the most comprehensive lobbying reform law in a generation, and to complete my committee's oversight investigation of the war in Iraq.

During this time of transition, the office will remain open and staff in Washington and Massachusetts will continue to be in place to assist you with any constituent services you may need.

While I am excited to begin my work at UMass Lowell, I will truly miss serving as your representative in the Congress. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to serve you in Congress. I appreciate the privilege and the trust you placed in me for fourteen wonderful years.

Sincerely,

Marty Meehan
Member of Congress

What does this mean for the 5th district of Mass? A run off? Living in the Seattle area leaves me out of the loop with Mass. politics..

Originally posted to rickeagle on Wed May 16, 2007 at 10:18 AM PDT.

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