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Rep. Inslee to resign to focus on governor's race

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee announced Saturday that he will resign from Congress to focus on his race for Washington's next governor.

Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, has represented the 1st District since 1999. His resignation takes effect March 20.

“I am excited about focusing full-time on talking about my job-creation agenda and building a new economy for Washington state,” Inslee said. “We have a great chance to seize our own destiny, build our own industries, and create our own technological revolutions right here at home.”

“I am not one for half measures or half-hearted efforts,” he added. “I am going to leave everything on the field. I am going everywhere and I am going to listen to everybody. If you have an idea, I want to hear it. If you have a problem, I want to know it. If you have a business, I want to help you grow it. I am all in.”

Officials with Inslee's campaign said he is currently leading in fundraising in the governor's race against Republican Rob McKenna, and also noted he is "running neck-in-neck with his opponent" in recent polls.

Inslee said he recently made the decision to step down from the U.S. House of Representatives after watching Republican presidential nominees visit Washington while pushing a “divisive social issues agenda.” Another factor: state Republicans' budget proposals to chop state funding for education.

“It was a difficult decision, but what I need to do right now is focus all my attention on talking to people about what’s really important – creating jobs and growing our economy,” Inslee said.

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