Republican Secretary of State Sam Reed made his long-rumored retirement official this morning, announcing he'll step down at the end of his third term, in January 2013. He calls it a "bittersweet decision for me and my family." His spokesperson, David Ammons, says Reed was confident he could have won a new term, but preferred to retire "and turn the office over to a new generation." A cancer survivor, Reed, 70, was recently given a clean bill of health, says Ammons.
Reed is the 14th secretary of state and the senior Republican statewide elected official. He served as Assistant Secretary of State under Lud Kramer and Bruce Chapman, from 1969 to 1975. He was elected six times as Thurston County Auditor, and in 2000 was elected to the first of three four-year terms as Secretary of State. In 2008, he beat Democrat Jason Osgood, earning almost 60 percent of the vote--more than Barack Obama's percentage in Democrat-heavy Washington.
In his statement, Reed said "I am leaving elective office, but not public service. I am quite certain that I will continue my love of community and state and country and serve as an enthusiastic volunteer in nonprofits and charities, lecturing, writing, and spending time on college campuses."
Among his proud moments, Reed said, was saving the state library and opening a state digital archives in Cheney--the first of its kind perhaps in the world, he says, with more than 100 million documents.