DETROIT (AP) — U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, who has taken on an increasingly sharp profile in Washington as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee in a time of widening global security crises, has decided to give up his seat in Congress for a career in broadcasting.
Rogers, a seven-term Republican lawmaker and former FBI agent, said in an interview Friday that he will not seek re-election after his term ends this year. Instead, Rogers told Detroit radio station WJR-AM that he will launch a radio show on stations affiliated with Atlanta-based Cumulus Media.
"As I close this chapter in my life, I am excited to begin a new one that allows me to continue serving as a voice for American exceptionalism and support a strong national security policy agenda," Rogers said in a statement.
The 50-year-old established an impressive broadcast resume, indeed, even while becoming an increasingly pivotal player in Congress, with regular appearances recently on nationally broadcast Sunday interview shows.
As international issues, incidents and crises mounted in trouble spots ranging from North Korea and Iran to Syria and now Russia, Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula, his presence on the airwaves has been increasing. Rogers' face became even more familiar in recent months amid the burgeoning controversy over widespread telephone surveillance by the National Security Agency.
On that issue, Rogers took the middle road, saying he shared concerns about individual privacy but also understood the need for an increasing intelligence capacity in a time of persistent threats of terrorist attack. In recent months, he has worked closely with Democrats on intelligence issues, an unusual display of bipartisanship in a divided Congress. He and Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersburger, the senior Democrat on the intelligence panel, have a good working relationship.
Last year, Rogers was on the short list to replace Robert Mueller as FBI director, a fitting position for the former FBI agent. Instead, President Barack Obama selected James Comey for the 10-year post.
Last June, Rogers renounced any consideration of running for the U.S. Senate in Michigan in 2014, saying the best way for him to make a difference in Washington was to remain in the House.
"For me, the significance and depth of the impact I can make on my constituent's behalf far outweighs the perceived importance of any title I might hold," he said at the time. Rogers' fundraising prowess and his base in southeastern Michigan made him a rising star in the ranks of the GOP.
He said Friday: "I have always believed in our founders' idea of a citizen legislature. I had a career before politics, and I will have one after."
Of his plans for a new radio show, Rogers said Friday, "It's a pretty rare opportunity. They don't come around very often."
When he announced he wasn't interested in a Senate seat, Rogers said, "I believe in being a productive conservative, meaning you have to move the ball forward, and that voice is just missing out there. And I want to have the opportunity to talk about it."
His voice has been especially prominent on the NSA issue.
On Thursday, responding to public outrage over the sweeping surveillance operation, the Obama administration on came up with a new program that it says would address privacy concerns and preserve the government's ability to fight terrorism.
A proposal from the leaders of the House Intelligence Committee, which also has bipartisan support, has some similarities to Obama's plan in that it would call for the government to query phone companies directly. However, Rogers' plan would not require prior court approval of searches.
Rogers has been in the House since 2001, representing a GOP-leaning district stretching between Lansing and the northern Detroit suburbs. He previously was a state senator from 1995 to 2000.
His announcement was expected to spark interest from a host of potential candidates, especially on the Republican side. Names already being floated were former Michigan Republican Party Chairman Saul Anuzis, former state Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, state Sen. Joe Hune and Rogers' older brother Bill, a state representative.
Ingham County Clerk Barb Byrum, a former Democratic state lawmaker, also is interested. Democrats Ken Darga, a former state demographer, and Central Michigan University associate professor Susan Grettenberger previously launched campaigns.
"When I first ran for Congress in 2000, I asked you to give me two years and I promised that we would make a difference," Rogers said in a statement on his campaign website. "I am humbled and honored that you entrusted me with 14 years representing your voice."
With respect to his new radio show, Cumulus Media provides programing to thousands of stations through its WestwoodOne subsidiary. Rogers' announcement was made on the Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM, a Cumulus station.
"He has been instrumental helping to shape many of the most important issues and events of our time and will play a significant role in our expanding content platform," Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus, said in a statement.
Associated Press writers David Eggert in Lansing, Mich., and Donna Cassata in Washington contributed to this report.