CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WYMT/WSAZ) - After nearly 50 years of public service, U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller will not seek reelection in 2014.
The senator made his official announcement Friday at the Culture Center in Charleston.
Sen. Rockefeller entered the crowded room to a standing ovation. Rockefeller's wife, their children, grandchildren, along with his sister and brother-in-law, friends and staff members were all in attendance.
Rockefeller says this was a personal decision, not a professional one.
"As I approach 50 years of public service in West Virginia, I've decided that 2014 will be the right moment for me to find new ways to fight for the causes I believe in and to spend more time with my incredible family, Rockfeller said. "Serving West Virginia in the U.S. Senate in an abiding honor and privilege, and Sharon and I are so full of gratitude to our state and to the countless friends and supporters who have made my public service possible."
On display during the news conference was a 28-page booklet of Rockefeller's record of achievements.
During his remarks, Rockefeller took time to single out some of his proudest accomplishments, including his efforts in expanding the state's economy by bringing Toyota to Buffalo.
However, he quickly pointed out his work won't stop.
"For the next two years in the Senate, and well beyond, I will continue working tirelessly on behalf of all West Virginians. Championing those most in need has been my life's calling, and I will never stop fighting to make a difference for the people who mean so much to me."
Rockefeller says during his time in the Senate his staff has traveled well over one million miles across the state since 1985 and handled nearly a quarter of a million constituent cases ranging from Social Security issues to black lung claims and veterans' benefits.