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Letter Accepting the Resignation of Kenneth M. Duberstein as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs

November 15, 1983

Dear Ken:

It is with great reluctance and regret that I accept your resignation as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, effective December 15, 1983.

Since the transition period, you have guided our relations, first with the House of Representatives and then during the past two years with the Senate as well. Your service to our country and to me has consistently been at an uncommon level of excellence.

When we came into office in January 1981, many said the promises made during the campaign could not be achieved, the Congress would not go along, the votes would not be there. You led the way toward building the coalition in the House which resulted in our initial victories on Gramm-Latta I and II and the 1981 tax cut bill. These significant victories signaled to all the fundamental change in direction we had promised would not be forestalled.

Your leadership in the management of relations with the Congress has enabled us to continue on the path to sustained economic growth and a renewed national security. The votes on the Hill have become more difficult since the honeymoon days but we have persevered to victory upon victory. In large measure, these successes have been due to your understanding of the Hill, your personal associations with so many Senators, Members, and staff, your ability at developing legislative strategy, and your tireless devotion to ensuring sound public policy. In every sense, you are a real pro.

Within the White House and the Administration, we have all benefited from your wise counsel, cheerful teamwork and commitment to achieving the results we seek. Your way with people is a rare and precious resource.

The fundamental importance you have placed on a sound working relationship with the Congress has become a hallmark of our Administration. As a result, we have been able to build broad bipartisan coalitions in the House and Senate to enact the Social Security Reform Act, the MX-Peacekeeper, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the Tax Equity and Fairness Reform Act and the War Powers in Lebanon Resolution.

As you prepare to return to private life, Ken, I want to salute you for a job exceedingly well done. You and your lovely bride, Sydney, have sacrificed greatly in loyal service to our country and to me. I know there will be many times when I will ask for your counsel and assistance.

Nancy and I send our best wishes for every future happiness and success.



[The Honorable Kenneth M. Duberstein, Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs, The White House, Washington, D.C. 20500]

Dear Mr. President:

After considerable thought, I have decided to resign my position and return to the private sector shortly after the end of this session of the 98th Congress. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs during the past two years and, prior to that, as Deputy Assistant to the President in charge of the House of Representatives. But it is time to renew the family life I have forgone and repair the financial security that has been sacrificed.

Not too many years ago, political scientists, pols, pundits and other serious students of the Washington scene were observing that our American system of government didn't seem to be working. There appeared to be gridlock, inertia, an inability to address, let alone solve, the major problems confronting our nation. Some believed our institutions of government were outdated, producing deadlock not decision in this modern, complex era. They are not saying this anymore.

In three short years, you have demonstrated that our system of government does work and that the fundamental change in direction you promised in the 1980 campaign could be set in motion. Working in harmony with the Congress, you have led the way to economic recovery and a restored national security. I am proud to have been part of that effort.

Beginning with the transition period after your election, you have built a sound, strong and superb working relationship with the Congress. The dividends from the priority you have placed each day on that relationship are not just the scores of legislative victories you have achieved. They are the results you promised: lower interest rates, declining inflation, more employment, less excessive and unnecessary regulation, reduced tax rates for individuals and businesses, a slower rate of growth of federal spending, a stronger national defense here at home and a renewed respect for our nation abroad.

From the early legislative successes of Gramm-Latta I and II and the 1981 tax cut bill to this year's Social Security Reform Act, the Caribbean Basin Initiative, the MX-Peacekeeper votes and the War Powers in Lebanon Resolution, you have benefitted greatly from outstanding teamwork in the Senate under the leadership of Majority Leader Howard Baker and in the House under Republican Leader Bob Michel. Their uncommon loyalty, effectiveness, leadership and willingness to go the extra mile on your behalf made the crucial difference on so many legislative initiatives. Your good relationship with Speaker O'Neill-even before 6:00 p.m.—has enabled you to reach out and work for the common good with all Members during critical times.

Much remains to be done. I am hopeful you will seek re-election and am confident you will be re-elected with a renewed mandate, continued Republican control of the Senate and increased support in the House.

Thank you for the confidence you have placed in me and for the opportunity to serve you and the country during the past three years. I look forward to working vigorously for your re-election and hope you will call on me for other assignments.

With every good wish to you and Nancy. Sincerely,


[The President, The White House, Washington, D.C. 20500]

Ronald Reagan, Letter Accepting the Resignation of Kenneth M. Duberstein as Assistant to the President for Legislative Affairs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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