U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde, the Illinois Republican who steered the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and championed government restrictions on abortion funding, announced Monday that he will retire when his term ends in 2006.
Hyde, who serves as chairman of the House International Relations Committee, made the announcement on his Web site on his 81st birthday. He was first elected to the House in 1974 from his Bensenville district near O’Hare International Airport.
Hyde also serves on the House Judiciary Committee, which he chaired from 1995 to 2001.
Aides to Hyde did not return phone calls seeking comment Monday. Andrew McKenna, chairman of the state Republican Party, was unable to be reached for comment, his office said.
On his Web site, Hyde named among his accomplishments protecting the lives of the unborn, improving the lives of the elderly, strengthening education and improving infrastructure in his district and Illinois.
Hyde was not always a Republican. He grew up in Chicago as an Irish-Catholic Democrat but by 1952 had switched parties and backed Dwight D. Eisenhower for president.
Hyde, who is widowed and has four children, received a bachelor’s degree in history from Georgetown University and a law degree from Loyola University.