HUTCHINSON — Former western Kansas Congressman Tim Huelskamp has resigned as the leader of an Illinois-based group that dismisses climate change and promotes free-market policies.

The Heartland Institute announced Huelskamp’s departure last month from his job as the conservative think tank’s president and chief executive officer. The board chose communications director Jim Lakely as interim president. The institute’s co-founder, Joseph Bast, said in a statement that the board also elected other new officers and approved several new hires.

The statement provided no reason for Huelskamp’s departure, and neither Lakely nor Bast returned email messages from The Associated Press.

Efforts to reach Huelskamp were unsuccessful. He served three terms in the U.S. House before losing the August 2016 Republican primary to now-U.S. Rep. Roger Marshall, a Republican from Great Bend.

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