Rep. Cherry says 14 years in legislature is enough; redistricting not a factor in retirement

12/01/2011 01:40 PM

State Rep. Mike Cherry, a vocal Democrat from Princeton who is chair of a key House committee, will not run for an eight term next year, he announced today.

“I felt the time was right,” said Cherry, the chair of the House State Government committee. “I’ve been thinking about it for some time. Fourteen years is enough.”

Cherry said there was no “main reason,” but he felt he wasn’t as excited for the challenges of being a legislator anymore. But he was proud of his service in both the General Assembly and in the U.S. Navy, where Cherry retired as a captain.

“I consider I’ve given 41 years of service to my country and my people,” Cherry said. “I’m quite proud of that.”

Cherry told Pure Politics in a phone interview that redistricting was “not a factor” in his decision because the lines to his district are mostly agreed upon already.

And as one man who controls the redistricting pen in the House, he said he wasn’t taking one for the team by retiring either.

Cherry said he is aware of a “couple” of people interested in running for his 4th District seat in 2012, but declined to name them.

“I am aware of interest from a couple of people who would make good candidates and good legislators,” Cherry said.

That district currently covers Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston counties and part of McCracken County.

Cherry is also known for his “Garden Party” at his home in Princeton the Friday before the Fancy Farm picnic. It has become a regular stop for Democrats on their way to the weekend’s political events.

In a statement, House Speaker Greg Stumbo said Cherry would be missed.

“Mike has been a great asset to our House Democratic caucus, especially when it comes to the day-to-day operation of state government and, as General Assembly’s senior retired officer, any issues involving veterans of our military,” Stumbo said in a release. “His expertise and the camaraderie he provided throughout the years will be deeply missed.”

Cherry told Pure Politics that he plans to continue to find “avenues” to assist state government and his Princeton community even after his retirement.

-Reporting by Kenny Colston


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