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(Jefferson City) (AP) – Republican U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri says she is leaving Congress in February to become the president and CEO for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.

Emerson announced the plans Monday, just weeks after she won re-election to the southeastern Missouri district. An Emerson has represented the district since 1981.

The 62-year-old Emerson first took office in 1996, replacing her husband, longtime Republican congressman Bill Emerson, after he died of lung cancer in June 1996. She won re-election in November.

Sen. Claire McCaskill issued a statement Monday concerning Emerson’s retirement announcement:

I congratulate Representative Emerson on her years of work for Missouri. Jo Ann is a middle of the road moderate—an approach I know firsthand can sometimes be a lonely one. Our state has benefited from Jo Ann’s public service, and I wish her the best, and look forward to continuing our work together for Missouri.


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