Sen. McGaha won't run in 2012 becoming third senator to retire

12/22/2011 01:34 PM

State Sen. Vernie McGaha, R-Russell Springs, said he won’t seek a fifth term in 2012.

McGaha said in a telephone interview that he enjoyed his time in the Senate but that it was time to retire.

McGaha has been undecided about whether to run again and told Pure Politics last month that he planned to make a decision by the end of the year.

A retired principal, McGaha won his first political office in 1996 when he was elected to the Senate. And he got an immediate feel for the political turbulence that came with the job on his first day in office when the Senate took a vote on ousting Democratic Senate President Eck Rose.

After that indoctrination into the Senate, McGaha established himself as one of the most conservative lawmakers on social issues.

“I’m a social conservative. And being so, sponsoring the bill that would allow the constitutional amendment that would preserve the definition of marriage was one of the more important issues I worked on in the Senate,” McGaha said.

Since that amendment passed in 2004, legislatures in seven states — New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, California and Massachusetts — plus the District of Columbia have decided to give marriage licenses to same sex couples.

But McGaha said Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage is likely to stand for years to come.

In addition to McGaha, Northern Kentucky Republican Jack Westwood and Louisville Democrat Tim Shaughnessy also have said they won’t run again in 2012.

McGaha first won the 15th District, which covers Adair, Russell, Pulaski and Casey counties, in 1996.

The question now is what will happen to that district as Senators re-write the map because of the 2010 Census. The southern Kentucky area that also includes the districts of Republican Senate President David Williams and others, such as GOP Sen. Tom Jensen, has been a sticking point as senators try to get the population numbers to work out.


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