Rep. John Kline was praised by President Barack Obama hours after the U.S. Representative for Minnesota announced he won't be running for re-election next year.
"John's never been afraid to stand up for what he believes in," the president said in a statement posted online by the Pioneer Press, "and as the Chairman of the House Education Committee, he's shown a willingness to work together with anybody – Republican or Democrat – who has the best interests of our students at heart."
He added that Kline has "served country and constituents with honor and distinction" during his 13 years in Congress and 25 years in the Marine Corps.
The praise comes even though Kline has been a close ally of U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican leader who has been at odds with the president.
"I look forward to continuing to work with John in the coming months, especially as we continue our efforts to give every child in America the fair shot in life they deserve, and I wish him and Vicky well in whatever their future holds," the President added.
GOP stalwart Kline has held Minnesota's Second Congressional District since the 2002 elections, and announced on Facebook Thursday he will not be running for re-election next year, a decision that came after "much careful thought and deliberation."
The 67-year-old called public service “an honor I am proud to have embraced throughout my life,” while noting there’s still 16 months ahead for him to get work done.
Last year his seat became a high-profile target for Democrats, and was even the subject of an ousting attempt by comedian Bill Maher, who staged a contest called “Flip a District” – an effort by the openly liberal personality to get an incumbent Republican out of office.
His seat will once again be a target for Democrats in next year's elections.
GovTrack rates Kline as one of farthest-right members of the House of Representatives.