CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two-term West Virginia state senator and long-time public servant Bill Laird will not seek re-election in 2016 as first reported on “MetroNews Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval.
“It’s been very fulfilling,” he said. “I certainly thank a number of people who have been supportive of me and my efforts for many, many years, but I think the time has come for me to choose not to run for re-election.”
Laird (D-Fayette) served four terms as the Fayette County Sheriff and two terms in the House of Delegates before arriving in the state Senate.
“I intend to remain active in my community in matters of civic interest and concern, but at this time I think it’s the right decision for me,” he said.
Laird said, among other reasons, that he wanted to leave state politics because nobody should be elected to a position for life.
“I do not think that service in a citizen legislature is best measured by longevity,” he said. “I think that as a member of a citizen legislature that period change and turnover is indeed the way it’s intended to be.”
Laird sponsored 17 bills in 2015 and sat on seven committees including Agriculture & Rural Development.
He said challenges continue to mount for state officials and elected representatives on a daily basis.
“We’re certainly entering a period of time in terms of our state where there are a lot of challenges, but I’ve been satisfied with my service in the state Senate,” he said. “I look forward to the upcoming legislative session and filling out the balance of my term.”
Laird said his successor–and he doesn’t know yet who may run for the open seat–needs to remember that serving as a state senator is more than just 60 days a year in Charleston.
“What I’ve learned in my public service career is that service to constituents and making yourself available to work with people and doing the case work is an important part of the responsibility also,” he said.