ATLANTA (AP) — A longtime state senator from northwest Georgia has said that he won’t seek reelection in November.

On the opening day of the 2020 legislative session Monday, Sen. Bill Heath announced his plan to step down at the end of his term.

Heath, a Republican from Bremen, represents state Senate District 31 including Haralson and Polk counties and parts of Paulding County.

With tears in his eyes, Heath said that he was retiring in order to spend more time with his wife and family.

Heath made a mark early in his political career by defeating former Democratic state House Speaker Tom Murphy, who loomed larger than life over state politics for decades, for a seat in the state House in 2002. Heath was then elected to the state Senate in 2005.

Heath is currently chairman of the Senate Government Oversight Committee, which has jurisdiction over state government policies and programs.

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