Hastert makes official announcement

Aug. 17, 2007 at 4:02 PM

YORKVILLE, Ill., Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Rep. Dennis Hastert, the longest-serving Republican speaker in the U.S. House, made it official Friday, announcing he has no plans to seek an 11th term.

Hastert released a prepared statement and met with supporters in his Illinois district outside the Kendall County courthouse in Yorkville, The Chicago Tribune reported.

"It was a great personal privilege and honor for this former teacher and wrestling coach to have been elected and to have served the American people," he said in his statement.

Hastert said in interviews earlier in the week he would not run again. He said he planned to finish his full term in Congress.

Hastert was first elected to Congress in 1986. He became speaker in 1998, succeeding Newt Gingrich, and remained in the position until the Democratic takeover of Congress following the November 2006 elections.

President Bush released a statement thanking Hastert for his "candid advice and strong support."

"He is a good and decent man, and he was a strong and effective speaker," Bush said.

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