SACRAMENTO (AP) -- State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a leading California Democrat for decades, announced Monday that he will retire from elected office when his term expires in early 2015.
Lockyer's announcement means he won't run for controller next year as planned. Instead, the 72-year-old politician said he's looking forward to starting a new phase of his life.
"It's tough to leave a career I have loved,'' he said in a statement. "It's been an exciting, fulfilling and rewarding 45 years. I've never felt anything but honored and privileged to serve my community and this state. And I cherish the people I've worked with and the friends I've made along the way. But it's time to make the break and explore other opportunities.''
Lockyer, who has held an elected position since 1968, previously served as attorney general and Senate president pro tem in the Legislature. He began his political career on the San Leandro Unified School District board.
He said his decision was not influenced by his wife, Nadia Lockyer, who resigned as an Alameda County supervisor amid a series of public substance abuse and relationship struggles.
Lockyer said he'll remain active in public policy but doesn't know in what capacity.
It marks the first departure from a group of aging top-tier Democrats, including 75-year-old Gov. Jerry Brown. However, Lockyer's retirement announcement opens opportunities for younger Democratic hopefuls.