Utah Sen. Allen Christensen says he will not run for reelection and plans to retire when his term ends next year.
"It'll be my 16th year," the North Ogden Republican said Thursday. "That's plenty for anybody."
Christensen, a retired pediatric dentist, said he's in good health but is eager to have more time to spend with his 27 grandchildren and less to do with the state's hot-button issues.
Last year, Christensen sponsored a controversial bill to replace the voter-approved Medicaid expansion with a version that covered fewer people. Since then, the state has had to roll out full Medicaid expansion — covering residents earning up to 138% — after the federal government rejected its waiver request.
The Medicaid measure was among the most consequential pieces of legislation from Christensen's career, but he also expressed pride in his efforts to increase taxes on tobacco and promote youth outdoor recreation.
While he said he'll miss legislative service, he won't be sad to receive fewer angry emails and phone calls.
"As a legislator, you're expected to be an expert on every subject and you're expected to make everyone happy, and that's obviously impossible," he said. "But every issue has its detractors, and that wears on you after a while."
Republican Johnny Ferry and Democrat Katy Owens have declared their intent to gather signatures to appear on the ballot for Christensen’s Senate District 19 seat.