Alabama State Rep. Patricia Todd, D-Birmingham, has announced that she will not seek re-election. In a press release posted to her Facebook page, Todd cited the “financial burden” of holding public office as the reason for her decision.
“The current ethic laws and the time to serve as a legislator create a barrier for me to secure full time employment and it has created a financial burden on my family,” Todd wrote. “I love my role as legislator. I will miss having a hand in crafted public policy, but hope my next career allows me to stay engaged.”
Todd, 62, was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2006 in a race that received national attention because she was a white candidate in a majority black district and because she became the first openly gay elected official in Alabama history.
Todd later ran for re-election unopposed in 2010. In 2014, she faced two challengers in the Democratic primary, but she easily won with 64 percent of the vote.
During her tenure as a state representative, Todd’s key issues have included poverty reduction, fair lending practices, marijuana legalization and childcare subsidies.
Todd indicated as recently as last year that she planned to run for reelection for one final term, telling NBC News that she would “try to groom some people to run for office so that we always have at least one openly gay politician.”
But now she says that, while she will not be running, she will help her successor in any way possible be effective in the Legislature.
Currently, Birmingham attorney Jerome Dees, a Democrat, is the only candidate for the District 54 seat. No other qualified candidates have entered the race, according to websites for the state Democrat and Republican parties.
Alabama’s statewide primary election is scheduled for June 5, with runoffs to follow July 17. The general election will take place Nov. 6.