Former Iowa Congressman Jim Leach is stepping down as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Leach, a Republican, served 30 years in congress before losing his bid for reelection in 2006. Leach joined the faculty at Princeton, his alma mater, then served as the interim director of the Institute of Politics at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Leach endorsed Democrat Barack Obama in August of 2008 and spoke at the Democratic National Convention. In 2009 President Obama asked Leach to join his administration, as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Leach says the nation needs an “infrastructure of ideas” as well as roads and bridges in order to maintain a healthy democracy. Leach’s resignation is effective the first week in May.