Bedford, VA - Delegate Lacey Putney from the 19th District is retiring after more than 50 years in the House of Delegates.
Putney the longest serving member of the Virginia General Assembly and of any state legislature. Putney chairs the appropriations committee and served a brief stint as Speaker of the House. Putney was first elected in 1961.
"I kept thinking I was going to quit every year," said Putney.
Putney first went to Richmond in 1962. He didn't know back in January, that 2013 would be his last year there. The decision to retire came in just the last couple of weeks.
"I decided with all these others waiting in the wing who want to run, the good Lord has let me enjoy a long career, I am going to hang it up and call it quits," said Putney.
Putney first ran and won as a Democrat. When the party chair asked him to sign a loyalty pledge in the 60s, vowing to only vote for fellow Democrats, Putney cut ties with the party.
"He said here are your papers. I said I don't want then I'm going to run," said Putney. "He said you can take them and put them where you want them and I said so can you."
Putney has run as an Independent ever since, though he caucuses with Republicans. He said Republican leaders have recently pressured him to seek re-election as a Republican.
"Caucus members had been after me they said, 'Lacey, why don't you run as a Republican? You're in the caucus.' I said, 'Well I don't want to make any more enemies. I have enough. I'm going to quit'," said Putney.
Putney, an attorney, will continue to serve as General Counsel for the Lynchburg company Delta Star. He says he has no plans to endorse anyone in the race for his old seat.