By MELINDA DESLATTE
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - U.S. Rep. Rodney Alexander is stepping down next month from his congressional seat to run the Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs.
Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Alexander's appointment as secretary Wednesday.
The news came a day after Alexander, the state's longest-serving U.S. House member, said he didn't intend to seek re-election next year. He blamed partisan gridlock for his decision to leave Congress.
Alexander will resign from Congress on Sept. 26 and start his new $130,000-a-year job on Sept. 30, according to the governor's office.
A special election will be held on Oct. 19 to fill Alexander's congressional seat, with a Nov. 16 runoff if needed.
Already two state lawmakers say they intend to run for the seat: Republican state Sen. Neil Riser and state Rep. Marcus Hunter, a Democrat.
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