After 52 years in office, Bedford County Delegate Lacey Putney says he won't run for re-election this coming November.
Putney is Virginia's longest-serving legislator, and chaired the powerful House Appropriations Committee, which writes the House version of the state budget.
The longtime independent has caucused with Republicans in the House in recent years, and his tenure helped give the Bedford region influence in Richmond.
Redistricting in 2010 added more of Botetourt County and Alleghany County to his 19th District.
In August of 2012, Putney revealed that he was being treated for throat cancer.
Here's Putney's full statement on his retirement from the General Assembly:
"After several weeks of consideration and deliberation, I have decided not to seek another term in the Virginia House of Delegates.
"When first elected in 1961, I had no plans to seek a second term. Now, after 52 years of service, I have reached one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life. Words cannot adequately express my sincere appreciation to the individuals and organizations who have placed their trust in me for the longest term of any other Virginia legislator currently serving or in years past.
"Encouragement to seek another term has been unexpectedly strong in all parts of the district; however, I feel obligated to make this announcement at this time because I know other potential candidates are waiting to know my plans.
"Through the years, I have tried to represent my constituents in a manner to which they are entitled. It is my plan to actively work full time for the remaining nine months of my current term, especially in providing leadership as Chairman of the Appropriations Committee in crafting the state budget and setting fiscal policies which will continue to make Virginia the best state in which to do business.
"Friendships which have come from associating with hundreds of delegates and senators, as well as 12 governors and their staffs, will remain forever a rich and rewarding part of my life.
"I will be forever grateful for the kindnesses and courtesies extended to me and members of my family, which are far too many and far too personal to enumerate.
"I would be remiss if I didn't point out that I am deeply indebted to my late wife and children, and my present wife, for the sacrifices they have made in order for me to be away from home and from my law practice for a significant part of 52 years. I am likewise deeply indebted to Betty Lou Layne, who has been a loyal employee as my secretary and legislative assistant for a total of 54 years.
"I consider myself especially blessed and privileged for having the high honor of serving the people and the great Commonwealth of Virginia for the past 52 years."