Sayward, a Republican, has served as Willsboro town supervisor and a member of the state Assembly for the last two decades. In her statement, Sayward said she leaves public service "more optimistic than when I entered."
Sayward was a strong advocate of same-sex marriage. She says she was proud to "stand up, speak out and vote in support of marriage equality for all New Yorkers." The decision will set off a scramble for her seat, in a district that has long been seen as a Republican stronghold.
But one of the top contenders could be Jay town supervisor Randy Douglas, a Democrat who leads the Essex County board of supervisors. Douglas saw his profile rise dramatically as he led the recovery effort following tropical storm Irene.
In an interview with the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Douglas said he is "honestly considering a run," but he won't make a formal decision until he "thoroughly" discusses the pros and cons with his family.
Read Sayward's statement in full below.
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“Today, I am announcing my intention to not seek re-election to the 113th Assembly District. This was a family decision, one reached after a great deal of careful thought and personal reflection. My husband Kenneth and I recently celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary, and we agreed that after over 20 years of public service it was time to write the next chapter of our life together.
Having the opportunity to serve my community as Willsboro Town Supervisor, a member of the Essex County Board of Supervisors, and most recently as a Member of the New York State Assembly, has been a privilege and honor of the highest order. I want to thank my family, County Chairs, colleagues and, most of all, the thousands of constituents who continually placed their faith, trust and confidence in me and have been so good to me. The support I received, and the friendships I made, mean far more than my words could ever express.
At a time when so many are cynical about government, I will leave public service more optimistic than when I entered. I have seen firsthand how the power of an idea, and the belief in an ideal, can make our society a better, fairer place for everyone.
I was proud to stand up, speak out and vote in support of marriage equality for all New Yorkers. Seeing marriage equality finally become law in New York State affirmed my faith in the more perfect union our forefathers sought and the pursuit of happiness that all Americans rightfully deserve.”