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Putney won't run again

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By John Barnhart

    Normally at this time of year, Delegate Lacey Putney announces his intention to run for reelection. This year is different.

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    “After several weeks of consideration and deliberation, I have decided not to seek another term in the Virginia House of Delegates,” Putney wrote in a news release.
    “When first elected in 1961, I had no plans to seek a second term,” Putney stated. “Now, after 52 years of service, I have reached one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life. Words cannot adequately express my sincere appreciation to the individuals and organizations who have placed their trust in me for the longest term of any other Virginia legislator currently serving or in years past.”
    Putney said that though encouragement to seek another term had been unexpectedly strong in all parts of the district, “I feel obligated to make this announcement at this time because I know other potential candidates are waiting to know my plans.”
    “Through the years I have tried to represent my constituents in a manner to which they are entitled,” he said. “It is my plan to actively work full time for the remaining nine months of my current term, especially in providing leadership as chairman of the Appropriations  Committee in crafting the state budget and setting fiscal policies which will continue to make Virginia the best state in which to do business.”
    Putney said friendships which have come from associating with hundreds of delegates and senators, as well as 12 governors and their staffs, will remain forever a rich and rewarding part of his life.
    “I will be forever grateful for the kindnesses and courtesies extended to me and members of my family, which are far too many and far too personal to enumerate,” he stated.
    “I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I am deeply indebted to my late wife and children and my present wife for the sacrifices they have made in order for me to be away from home and from my law practice for a significant part of 52 years. I am likewise deeply indebted to Betty Lou Layne, who has been a loyal employee as my secretary and legislative assistant for a total of 54 years.
    “I consider myself especially blessed and privileged for having the high honor of serving the people and the great Commonwealth of Virginia for the past 52 years.”
    Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell issued his own reaction to Putney’s retirement.
    “Delegate Lacey Putney has been a fixture in Virginia politics for more than five decades, and has served the citizens of Bedford County with dedication, focus and selflessness since he entered the legislature in 1961,” McDonnell stated.” A true Virginia statesman, Lacey’s independent perspective and distinctive voice have provided insight into debates for scores of Virginia’s historic legislative decisions.”
    McDonnell stated he has been honored to work with Putney throughout his political career “and count him among one of the wisest, most dedicated colleagues I have had the opportunity to work with as a fellow delegate, attorney general and governor.”
    “He has provided leadership on countless issues, not the least of which is his fiscal stewardship for taxpayers as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee where he has played a key role in keeping Virginia ranked among one of the best states in the nation for sound governance, and his term as acting Speaker of the House where his leadership steadied the House during a difficult transition,” McDonnell stated.” I have enjoyed working closely with Lacey and his staff during my time as governor where we have had to make some difficult budget decisions. His counsel and advice have proven vital to navigating the Great Recession and its impact on the Commonwealth. He will long be remembered for his steadfast dedication to working for his constituents, state employees, and the entire Commonwealth with a focus on what’s good for Virginia above any partisan political allegiance. He was a no nonsense fiscal disciplinarian who earned respect for his thoughtfulness and desire to do the right thing, not the expedient thing.”
    McDonnell said Putney will be missed, noting his 52 years of consecutive service in the House of Delegates will not likely be replicated.
    “I wish Lacey the best in his future endeavors and hope that he and his wife Carmela are able to relax and enjoy the bounties that Virginia has to offer in his retirement,” McDonnell said.