New Jersey State Senator Diane Allen (R-7) will step away from the Legislature at the end of her current term, citing health factors in today's announcement.

NJ State Senator Diane Allen (SenateNJ.com)

Her complete statement:

“It has always been my intention to run for another term in the New Jersey Senate; however, over the last few weeks I have come to realize I must face some health issues that I have been trying to ignore. Consequently, with my family’s support, I have decided to make this term my last and 2017 my last year in office.

“I have a number of medical concerns that sometimes make it difficult for me to put in the same time and effort I have been able to expend in the past. While this is supposedly a part time position, I have never treated it as such. Fortunately, I believe I can maintain a pace to continue to serve my district this year. What I can’t imagine is adding the many extra hours a campaign would require. I want to expend my energy serving my constituents and working to solve the problems they and the rest of us in New Jersey face.

“There are many important pieces of legislation that need to be passed this year, as well as wrongs that need to be set right. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as usual, to try to accomplish these goals.

“I am forever grateful to the people of the 7th District for giving me the amazing gift of letting me serve them for more than 21 years. I also am so appreciative of the many people who have helped me through the years in so many ways. There are those who stand on conviction, who follow their moral compass and who put people over politics. I look forward to continuing to work with them this coming year.”

The Cinnaminson lawmaker, who turns 69 years of age in March, was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2009, undergoing surgery the following year.

She serves as Deputy Republican Leader, and has held a Senate seat since 1998. Prior to that, she served one term in the state Assembly.

A onetime news reporter for TV stations in Philadelphia and Chicago, Allen took her first step into public service when she sought a spot on the Board of Education in her native Moorestown. Not long after entering the state Senate, she narrowly lost a bid to carry the Republican banner into the 2002 U.S. Senate race, edged by Doug Forrester.

Allen became chair of the National Foundation for Women Legislators in 2013. She was a a delegate to the Republican National Convention four times between 1996 and 2012, and held seats on the New Jersey Human Relations Council and the Martin Luther King Commission.

She exits at the end of a year in which all seats in the New Jersey Legislature will be at stake in the November elections.

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