BY HOWARD WILKINSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NEW CONCORD, Ohio - Saying that only his age is keeping him from carrying on, John Glenn returned to his hometown in eastern Ohio Thursday to say he would not seek a fifth term in the U.S. Senate.
''There is no cure for the common birthday,'' the 75-year-old Democrat told about 500 students and townspeople in the campus chapel at Muskingum College, his alma mater.
Mr. Glenn, a senator since 1975, chose the 35th anniversary of his Mercury space flight - a 4-hour, 55-minute, three-orbit trip that made him the first American to orbit the Earth - to make his announcement.
The decision eliminated the possibility
of a classic battle in 1998 between Mr. Glenn and Ohio's Republican governor, George Voinovich. The governor cannot seek a third term and and is actively running for Mr. Glenn's seat.
Mr. Glenn said he remains enthusiastic about public service.
''Although my health remains excellent and my passion for the job burns as brightly as ever, another term in the Senate would take me to the age of
83,'' said Mr. Glenn. Wife, Annie, son David, daughter Lyn and two grandchildren sat in the front row.
Mr. Glenn decried an attitude of ''cynicism, apathy, selfishness, hostility toward government and incivility towards one another'' that he thinks exists in American politics.
The senator urged young people to get involved.
''Don't tune out, cop out, drop out,'' Mr. Glenn said. ''Don't give in to complacency and cynicism. Don't ignore what is bad but concentrate on building what is good.''
SERVICE TEMPTING TO GLENN
PROFILE: GLENN SOARED IN SPACE, POLITICS Feb. 20, 1997
GLENN LIKELY BOWING OUT OF SENATE Feb. 19, 1997
GLENN'S EXIT WOULD LEAVE GAP AT CENTER Feb. 19, 1997