Wexler steps down from Congress

By Althea Paul - email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

BOCA RATON, FL (WFLX) - A popular congressman stepping down after serving South Florida for years.

Update, WED 2 PM: Congressman Robert Wexler is accepting a position as President of the Center for Middle East Peace. He'll be leaving Congress effective January 2010.

This comes after 19 years total in the U.S. House and Florida Senate. Congressman Wexler says he's always been passionate about issues in the Middle East, especially as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. His decision was two months in the making, and the congressman says what he will miss the most is helping out his constituents. He adds that his choice was not an easy one.

"We had a number of family votes. Kids on one side of the issue and the other. But I'm a blessed man. I have a beautiful family. I've been priviliged to serve in Congress, and I feel very lucky. But it's been a very difficult decision, that's for sure," said Congressman Robert Wexler.

Tuesday on his radio show, former Congressman Mark Foley alluded to possible political corruption having to do with Wexler's resignation. But we asked Congressman Wexler about this, and, he says, it's simply not true.

Wexler will not comment on if there is any one in particular he'd like to see as his successor.

Previously: Could a popular congressman from our area be stepping down from office to pursue other interests?

Our partners at the Palm Beach Post are reporting U.S. Representative Robert Wexler plans to announce Wednesday he's resigning from Congress.

Democratic sources are saying the seven-term congressman, who faced criticism last year for actually living in Maryland and using his in-laws Florida address, will be taking a "public policy position" -- possibly related to Middle East policy.

Possible candidates for a special election are State Senator Ted Deutch and West Palm Beach Mayor Lois Frankel. A political analyst comments on the domino effect to local politics. Both of whom are qualified Democratic leaders who've served this county for a number of years, and, then, of couse a ripple effect as those seats open up.

There have been rumors Wexler would get an appointment with the Obama Administration, but Wexler had said he wouldn't leave Congress until now.

Former Congressman Mark Foley talked about the news on his radio show, AM 960 Tuesday afternoon, but there's the backside of a story developing -- political corruption.

There are innuendos being logged by people suggesting Robert has had unscrupulous dealings during his time in Congress.

Foley interviewed Wexler's 2008 opponent for Congress, Republican Edward Lynch, who has started a Web site which, he says, tracks questionable relationships between Wexler and businesses through public records.

Wexler not available for comment; he is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Boca Raton.