The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE - State Sen. David Karem, second-longest serving member of the General Assembly, says he will not seek re-election in 2004.
Karem, a liberal Democrat, cited "personal family reasons" for his retirement, which he plans to formally announce on Sunday, his 60th birthday.
"I have loved almost every minute I've been in the legislature," Karem, a legislator since 1972, said Thursday.
Karem was a longtime member of the Senate Education Committee and a driving force behind passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990.
He spent 22 years in Senate leadership posts - first as majority caucus chairman, then as majority floor leader before becoming minority leader when Republicans gained control of the Senate.
Karem frequently clashed with Senate President David Williams, a Republican, and did not seek a leadership post during the legislature's organization this year.
Karem won the first of two terms in the Kentucky House in 1972 and moved up to the Senate in 1976. Only state Rep. Jim Bruce of Hopkinsville, first elected in 1964, has a longer tenure.
Karem represents the 35th Senate District, which had been redrawn to stretch from Hikes Point and Okolona through south Louisville and west to Shively. Two Democrats expected to run for Karem's seat are Denise Harper-Angel, the Jefferson County property valuation administrator, and Ken Herndon, the county's judge-executive.
Republican county chairman Jack Richardson IV said the party would make a strong bid for the seat. Republicans currently have a 22-16 majority.
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