Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Plans to Retire Next Year

Washington (AP) - republican u.s. Sen. Kay bailey hutchison of texas has announced that she will retire after her current term  expires next year.

In a letter released thursday, hutchison said she will not run for re-election in 2012. Hutchison has signaled she might retire and then changed her mind several times in the last few years. In

2010, she challenged gov. Rick perry in the gop primary for governor, but lost.

Hutchison has been in the senate since 1993.

In her letter, hutchison said she had intended to leave office sooner but was persuaded to stay on to "avoid disadvantage to our state."

here is her complete statement:

to my fellow texans:

for the past 17 years, it has been my greatest honor to serve the people of texas in the united states senate. Working for the citizens and communities of our state is a privilege.

I am announcing today that i will not be a candidate for re-election in 2012. That should give the people of texas ample time to consider who my successor will be. In the next two years, you can be assured that i will pursue my duties, and my responsibilities to our state and people, with the same vigor that i have employed during my senate service.

I have loved visiting all 254 counties in texas. During my travels, i have been most touched by the constituents who have told me how my work in the senate has personally impacted their lives. From the man in dallas who thanked me for passing my homemaker ira legislation which allowed him and his wife to save more for their retirement; the teacher and sheriff's deputy in houston who saved thousands each year because they knew i fought for my bill to relieve the marriage penalty tax; the military families who know i have been a champion of health care and housing for these heroes; and the many constituents that we have been privileged to assist with social security and veterans benefits. Knowing that i have been able to truly help my fellow texans and make a positive difference in their lives is a public servant's greatest reward.

When my current term is up, i will have served texas for 19 years in the united states senate. I intended to leave this office long before now, but i was persuaded to continue in order to avoid disadvantage to our state. The last two years have been particularly difficult, especially for my family, but i felt it would be wrong to leave the senate during such a critical period. Instead of putting my seat into a special election, i felt it was my duty to use my experience to fight the massive spending that has increased our national debt; the government takeover of the our health care system; and the growth of the federal bureaucracy, which threatens our economy. I will continue that fight until the end of my term in 2012.

I will be forever grateful for the privilege of working for you in the united states senate. I will now look forward to living full-time in texas with my family, and to keep working for our state's interests as long as i live.

God bless america and god bless texas,

kay bailey hutchison

united states senator, texas

u.s. Sen. John cornyn (r-tx) released the following statement in response to u.s. Sen. Kay bailey hutchison's announcement that she will not seek reelection in 2012:

 "it has been an honor and privilege to serve with senator hutchison in the united states senate. Kay has dedicated much of her life to serving texas, and our entire country, and i am enormously grateful to be able to work alongside a woman of her vision, a woman of her energy, and someone who represents the very best of the state of texas. Kay came to the senate to make a difference, to work to find solutions to the complex problems of modern society, and to attain real and lasting change. She has succeeded in brilliant fashion.

 "senator hutchison serves as an example to us all. She has been a leader in texas and here in the senate. Senator hutchison makes me proud to say i am from the great state of texas, and prouder still to call her my friend. I thank senator hutchison for her leadership, for her counsel, and for her steadfast service to the great state of texas and to the united states of america.

"i wish her, her husband ray, and her wonderful children bailey and houston, all the best."

Today we sat down with Wichita Falls Mayor Glenn Barham and he told us just how the senator has touched the city.

"Senator Hutchinson has always been a champion for Sheppard for as long as I can remember even when I worked for the city. She has been a champion and she is a champion for Sheppard."