Wollondilly MP Jai Rowell has today announced he will not be contesting in the 2019 state election.
About 3.30pm, Mr Rowell made the announcement after question time in state Parliament.
The soon-to-be father of three has attributed the decision to “family reasons”.
“In my inaugural speech I referenced Alan Jackson’s song ‘Small Town Southern Man’ where he said ‘his greatest contribution is the ones you leave behind’- he was speaking of family,” Mr Rowell said.
“The best job I will ever have, is to be the dad of Will and Menzies and the husband of Belinda.
“Everything I have done in my life, is to make this a better place for them.”
Mr Rowell’s wife, Belinda, is expecting baby number three anytime now and has had complications, which has led Mr Rowell to want to spend as much time with family as possible.
“Both our sons have only ever known their Dad whilst in politics,” he said.
“This job means you are away from home for large parts of the year.”
He has been Wollondilly’s MP since 2011 and was re-elected in 2015.
The Wollondilly MP said this was not a decision he made lightly, taking time over the Parliamentary break to really consider whether to retire or not.
“As our baby is due to arrive, given both my beloved parents are unwell, being one year out to the election and with nominations now open, it is with mixed emotions, I announce that I will not be contesting in the election,” he said.
“It is important to me to help my parents as they have helped me. I cannot do these things effectively and contest the next election.
“No longer will my family miss a husband, father and son.”
Despite NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s encouragement to recontest, Mr Rowell said she understood his decision not to do so.
“I want to thank the Premier, Gladys Berejiklian,” he said.
“I am proud of our government’s achievements and wish her and the team all the best for the next election.”
Mr Rowell also thanked the Southern Highlands community, and said he would not stop fighting for what was important to them.
“There is still much fire in the belly,” he said.
“We have achieved a lot delivering billions of dollars in much needed infrastructure and services such as upgrading Bowral and Campbelltown hospitals, announcing a new public high school, creating jobs, helping our most vulnerable and protecting our environment to name a few.”