The independent member for Windermere, Ivan Dean, will not recontest his seat in the Legislative Council come the upper house elections this May.
A former police commander and Launceston mayor, the conservative Mr Dean has served as an MLC since 2003.
"I advise the people and in particular all those people living in the electorate of Windermere of my intention to not recontest the forthcoming election in May 2021," he said in a statement this afternoon. "I have served the electorate as an independent member for 18 years and during this time have made many lifelong friends and at the same time assisted and supported constituents with issues brought forward."
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"I have dedicated myself to not only this position but other areas including military service, police and local government - having served the country and people of Tasmania for near 60 years.
"It is now time to be with my family who have given me strong support - in both police and parliamentary life. My wife Anne and three boys have been a big part of my public working life and made many sacrifices to ensure my success. Can I make up for this lost family time? I am not sure, but I will give it my best shot. I look forward to spending quality time with family and our seven beautiful grandchildren."
Mr Dean said it had been a "privilege" to serve the people of Windermere and thanked his "dedicated and loyal staff" for their support over the years.
"I am not retiring from life - I am going into another phase where I will remain active in a number of projects I am involved with and 'new ones' on the horizon," he said.
The MLC urged voters to elect another independent to succeed him, saying it was important for the Legislative Council to be an "independent-controlled house", as has historically been the case.
"If it loses this status through party control (and it is close now) it cannot properly do its intended work," he said. "It is not about governing the state or acting as a brick wall to the government or becoming a rubber stamp for a government - it is a house of review or house of second opinion, if you like, and its function is to follow closely the workings of government and to keep a check on it."
Mr Dean is throwing his support behind a fellow ex-police officer, Launceston's Will Smith, who will formally announce his candidacy for Windermere tomorrow.
"I have stepped up as an independent candidate to make sure that the Windermere electorate continues to be represented by an independent person with strong values, who will offer a contemporary insight into the needs of the Tasmanian community," Mr Smith, who was the 2019 Tasmanian Young Australian of the Year, said.
Mr Dean's announcement will throw the contest for Windermere wide open.
Labor has endorsed former Bass MHR Geoff Lyons as a candidate for the seat, while the Liberals are yet to confirm a candidate of their own.
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