The Washington Times - September 20, 2011, 11:24AM

Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Tuesday he will step down from his Senate Republican leadership post in January, saying the move will allow him to be more “aggressive” in tackling major issues.

The Tennessee senator has served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference — considered the No. 3 position the chamber’s GOP leadership chain — for the past four years. He said he will remain in the Senate and plans to run for re-election in 2014.


“Stepping down will liberate me to work for results on the issues I care the most about,” Mr. Alexander said. “That means stopping runaway regulations and spending. But it also means setting priorities — confronting the timidity that allows runaway health care spending to squeeze out research, scholarships, highways and other government functions that make it easier and cheaper to create jobs.

“I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues.”

Senate Republicans chose Mr. Alexander in December, 2007 to succeed then-conference chairman Jon Kyl when the Arizona senator succeeded former Sen. Trent Lott of Mississippi as Senate GOP whip. Mr. Alexander was re-elected without opposition in November 2008 and again in November 2010.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, hasn’t announced a replacement.