Public service can be a tough thing to measure.
But, by almost any standard, Sen. Jim Rausch, R-Derry, is a true public servant.
He’s done his time, served his town, county and state.
On Monday, after what he described as an agonizing decision, the 14-year legislative veteran opted out of another two-year stint in Concord. He’s putting family first.
There was palpable joy in Rausch’s voice when he spoke of the impending birth of his first grandchild. Claiming he’s rather late to the game at age 67, he said he didn’t want to be in the position of choosing between familial duties and those at the Statehouse.
Smart move, Senator.
Three potential candidates already have announced their intentions, including Derry’s own Frank Sapareto and Jim Foley. No doubt, others will emerge and Senate District 19 will be served.
But Rausch’s absence will be felt.
He can point to several significant accomplishments in his tenure in Concord, 10 years in the House, four in the Senate.
High on the list, for better or worse, is his shepherding through of the current education funding formula, something the state had long failed to pass muster on.
He also worked hard to bolster financial support for career and technical education funding statewide. That translated into some $8 million for the expansion of facilities and programs at Pinkerton Academy.
Rausch stressed Monday the importance of offering students a strong CTE option. Not everyone chooses to go to college, he said, and it’s important those students can follow a career path that will lead to good wages — and help keep them in New Hampshire.
Perhaps less popular was Rausch’s successful charge to gain approval for a 4.2-cent-per-gallon gas tax hike, which will fund the Interstate 93 widening, and help repair and replace decaying roads and bridges statewide.