By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
CONCORD – State Senate Democratic Leader Sylvia Larsen of Concord announced Wednesday that she will not seek reelection after 20 years of service in the upper chamber.
Larsen, a former Senate President, is the body’s longest serving member, having been elected in 1994, when Jeanne Shaheen was still in the Senate.
Sources told New Hampshire Journal that Kassandra Ardinger, secretary and former president of the Concord School Board, is expected to emerge as a candidate to succeed Larsen in the heavily Democratic District 15.
In a statement on the Senate floor, Larsen said, “I have decided to finish my time in this beautiful chamber of the Senate and not run for re-election. I have served for 20 years and look forward to spending more time with a law graduate son in Portland, a newly-married daughter who just moved back to Concord with our new son-in-law, and a retired husband who loves to explore.
“I still love what can be accomplished through political involvement and I plan to stay involved, just not as a candidate this election. I believe the Senate Democrats are in a strong place to return to the majority after this election and I look forward to seeing a Democratic Senate President when the 2015 session begins.”
“As I look back on my time in the Senate, I thank the people in my district for the trust they have given me through these ten elections that has allowed me to accomplish much of what I came here to do.”
Senator Larsen cited several developments in which she was closely involved during her tenure, including statewide universal access to public kindergarten, a constitutional education funding plan, a tax-free college savings plan, strong anti-domestic violence laws, a paycheck fairness law and the approval of construction of a new women’s prison.
Larsen has been Democratic Leader since 2002 and was Senate President from 2006 to 2010.
She also has been involved in several successful Democratic presidential campaigns.
She backed Bill Clinton for President early in 1991, was an early supporter of Democratic presidential nominees Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004 as well as 2012 New Hampshire primary winner Hillary Clinton. She was a delegate to the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.
For the past 10 years, Larsen has been an officer of the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.