DES MOINES (AP) — The Democratic leader in the Iowa House announced Thursday that he is resigning to take a position with the Iowa Attorney General's Office, a move that he said would allow him to resume “a more normal pace of life.”
Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines said he would resign from elected office to take a position in which he'll oversee several areas in the Attorney General's Office.
Those duties include directing a new unit working on mental illness matters and their impact on the criminal justice system and overseeing an elder fraud unit. He'll also lead an initiative to aid military service members, veterans and families, especially in areas of consumer protection.
McCarthy said Aug. 15 will be his final day in office. He has represented a Des Moines district for 11 years, including seven years as either the majority or minority leader.
“Although I am now in as strong of a political position as I could be as a caucus leader, I feel the real desire to try something different and return to a more normal pace of life,” McCarthy said in a statement. “This new opportunity — taking the lead on policy and legal issues I deeply believe in — is a chance to do just that.”
McCarthy said he was 34 when elected as his party's leader and his daughter was 4. In what seemed like the “blink of an eye,” he is 42 and his daughter is nearly a teenager, he said.
“I have realized there can be much more to life than spending most of one's time fundraising and riding the political roller coaster,” McCarthy said.
House Democrats will gather Aug. 10 to elect a new leader for the 47-member caucus. After Aug. 15, Gov. Terry Branstad will have five days to set a date for a special election.
Former Democratic Party Chairman Tyler Olson, who is now running for governor, called McCarthy a good leader. Olson said there are others ready to move into the House position.
“There are a number of folks with the skills to do the job,” Olson said.
“We'll have a discussion about who's best to move us forward.”
McCarthy, who has a law degree, worked in the Attorney General's Office twice between 1994 and 2001.
He was an executive officer in child support enforcement and consumer protection and an assistant attorney general in tobacco enforcement.
Attorney General Tom Miller, a Democrat, said he was pleased by McCarthy's return and noted his experience in law, public policy and legislative matters.
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