This article originally provided by The Herald-Dispatch

July 13, 2007

Monongalia senator not running in '08

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) -- Voters in West Virginia's 14th Senatorial District must choose a new face in 2008 after three-term Democrat Jon Blair Hunter announced Friday that he would not seek re-election.

Representing parts of Monongalia and six other northern counties, Hunter said his decision reflects his belief in term limits.

"It's something I sort of decided when I first ran," said Hunter, 68. "I've sort of self-imposed it. ... I think the Legislature needs turnover from time to time to bring in some fresh ideas."

A retired social worker, Hunter said he was proud of his efforts to improve health care access to the elderly, the poor and those with mental illness. As chairman of the Senate Military Committee, Hunter also helped champion the $26 million Veterans Nursing Home that the state hopes to open later this summer in Clarksburg.

Hunter said he hoped to spend his final session securing at least a pilot program for the public funding of election campaigns, touting its track record in five other states.

"I just think that money has corrupted the democratic process," Hunter said. "I think public financing is a step toward reversing that."

Beyond 2008, Hunter said he hoped to travel and spend more time with his family, which includes a great-granddaughter.

Half the 34-member Senate is up in 2008, as is the entire 100-seat House of Delegates. At least two other senators, Republican Vic Sprouse of Kanawha County and Majority Whip Billy Wayne Bailey, D-Wyoming, also say they will not seek re-election. Bailey plans to run for secretary of state.

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