Senate leader Williams won't seek re-election

Hartford- Longtime state Senate President Donald Williams announced Wednesday he will not seek re-election to the General Assembly in November.

The Brooklyn Democrat, who has served in the Senate's top leadership role for a decade, said he is looking forward to "pursuing other challenges at the end of this term." Williams has been the longest-serving president of the Connecticut Senate, his office said.

Williams has served in the state legislature for 22 years, representing northeastern Connecticut. A former first selectman of Thompson, Williams has also worked as a reporter and educator.

He called it a "great privilege" to serve in the General Assembly, citing a recent job creation bill and legislation transforming the University of Connecticut and the state universities as some of his major accomplishments. Williams has also pushed for the labeling of genetically modified foods and the creation of the Office of the Child Advocate.

During his career, Williams has also worked in favor of farmland preservation, abolishing the death penalty, implementing public campaign financing in Connecticut and banning the sale of soda and other unhealthy beverages in schools.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called Williams "a great ally and friend," saying he's proud to have worked with him "to find common ground on some of the most important issues of our day."

Williams, 56, was first chosen by his peers as the Senate President in 2004, after former Gov. John G. Rowland resigned amid a corruption scandal and then-Lt. Gov. M. Jodi Rell became the new governor. Then-Senate President Kevin Sullivan was elevated to lieutenant governor, creating the opening for Williams.

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