DERRY — After 14 years in the Legislature, Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, said Monday he won’t seek re-election this fall.
Rausch’s daughter, who lives in Jacksonville, Fla., is expecting the family’s first grandchild this fall and Rausch said family has to come first.
Rausch, 67, was a veterinarian for about 30 years before he ran for the New Hampshire House. He served five terms there before running for the Senate seat left vacant by former Derry Sen. Robert Letourneau in 2010.
He serves District 19, which includes Derry, Hampstead and Windham.
Rausch easily beat his Democratic challengers in 2010 and 2012, and soon became someone known for his powers of persuasion.
This year, he was instrumental in pushing through a 4.2-cent-a-gallon gas tax hike that will fund the completion of the Interstate 93 widening project and pay for much-needed bridge and road repairs statewide.
He cited that legislation as one of his prouder moments.
He spoke, too, of helping to pass the state’s education funding formula and pushing for funding for the state’s Career and Technical Centers, including some $8 million for new CTE facilities at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
“I have to say it was a very difficult decision,” Rausch said yesterday. “I really thoroughly enjoyed my tenure in the Legislature.”
But the distance from his anticipated grandchild pushed him away from politics and toward his family.
“Ultimately, if I can’t give 100 percent to something, then I don’t feel like I’m doing a good job,” he said. “Family came first, really that’s what this boiled down to. I just feel it’s the right thing to do for this minute.”
He put constituent services high on his list of accomplishments.
There was just one major disappointment, he said.
“I am disappointed we didn’t get the casino. I don’t share some of the concerns some legislators have,” he said. “I think there was an opportunity for gainful employment, construction, entertainment — and let’s not leave out revenue. But, hopefully, maybe they’ll be able to get it down the road.”