Nicholson leaving VA, returning to private sector

WASHINGTON (AFRNS) -- Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson announced July 17 he has tendered his resignation to President George W. Bush, effective no later than October 1.

In his letter of resignation, Mr. Nicholson praised and thanked the president for the honor of serving him and the nation's veterans in a key post at such a "critical time in our nation's global war on terror."

"The VA is a dynamic organization dedicated to serving our nation's finest citizens -- our veterans," Mr. Nicholson said. "It has been an honor and privilege to lead the VA during this historic time for our men and women who have worn the uniform. We have accomplished so much and the VA is always striving to improve our services to veterans."

Mr. Nicholson said he wants to return to the private sector. "This coming February, I turn 70 years old, and I feel it is time for me to get back into business, while I still can." He said he has no definite plans at this time.

He also addressed an assembled group of Washington VA employees and those watching around the country on VA's closed-circuit television. In his message to employees, Mr. Nicholson told them how privileged he felt to have worked with them in fulfilling the nation's promises and obligations to its veterans.

"VA has come a long way in meeting the growing needs and expectations of our veterans and you deserve the credit," Mr. Nicholson said.

Nicholson, a Vietnam veteran, was sworn in February 1, 2005, as secretary of Veterans Affairs. He left the private business world, where he ran a successful residential development and construction company, and was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee in January 1997. Immediately before becoming secretary, he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See. (Courtesy of VA Public and Intergovernmental Affairs)