U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson announced on Monday, Dec. 3, that her service in the House of Representatives will end February 2013.
Emerson will become the President and Chief Executive of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association in February. "I am not leaving Congress because I have lost my heart for service -- to the contrary -- I see a new way to serve. I did not go seeking this opportunity, but I am excited about the new challenge it offers," Emerson said.
Emerson has served in Congress for 16 years. "I am going to miss the constituents I work with every day, small business owners, compassionate families, community leaders, students and service members who define the character of Southern Missouri," said Emerson. Emerson is looking forward to finding new ways to promote strong rural policy.
Emerson first took office in November of 1996, replacing her husband, longtime Republican Congressman Bill Emerson, after he died of lung cancer in June of 1996. She won re-election to a ninth term in November. Her district covers southeastern and south central counties.
Before running for her late husband's seat in 1996, Emerson was a lobbyist in Washington, D.C., for the National Restaurant Association, and worked in Republican politics. When she won her first full term, she ran as an independent in the general election because her husband died after the filing date for the Republican primary election. On the same day that she won the general election as an independent, she won a special election as a Republican to fill the final two months of her husband's unexpired term.
Once Emerson leaves office, Governor Nixon will set a date for a special election, which has to be at least 10 weeks after the vacancy occurs. Committees for each political party will choose nominees to run in the election.