Former Congressman Bails on Political Career

February 10, 2011 Updated Feb 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT

By Kendra Eaglin

February 10, 2011 Updated Feb 10, 2011 at 6:00 PM EDT

Buffalo, NY
He is an accomplished businessman, with a wife Michele and young son. Tonawanda native, Chris Lee, was quickly making a name for himself as an up and coming political heavy weight.

"The train has left the station and we're going to D.C.!" Lee said during his acceptance speech in November 2008.

Lee began his first term in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, despite negative attack ads claiming the businessman shipped thousands of potential American jobs overseas and leaked trade secrets to China while running his multi-million dollar manufacturing company.

During that same acceptance speech Lee told the crowd, "The people of this district know the truth and they realize that we have to bring the right person to make changes in Washington D.C."

Lee represented Western New York's 26th district, which includes parts of Erie, Niagara, and Orleans counties and all of Genesee, Wyoming and Livingston counties.

In December, he was appointed to the House Ways and Means committee, widely considered the most powerful committee in C|ongress.

After the crash of flight 3407, Lee successfully lobbied to get new airline safety and pilot training standards signed into law.

Less than six months ago he was thrust into the spotlight again after ranking 30th on the list of the 50th Richest Congress Members, published by a Captial Hill newspaper reportedly earning more than $8.7 million.

With Lee's resignation, the governor now has to call a special election to take place no longer than 40 days after it is announced.

Also, many have speculated the state might loose the 26th district seat in the upcoming federal re-districting process due to continuing population declines in all the Western New York counties.