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In a week full of last-minute political surprises, Coroner Brian Ritchie upped the ante by announcing Monday that he would not seek re-election.
A Democrat who has held the office for the past 16 years, Ritchie said he made his decision to spend more time with his family.
“I’ve been doing this since I was 20 years old and I’m ready for some changes,” said Ritchie, who owns and operates Ritchie-Peach Funeral Home on North Main Street. “My son is 15 and if I serve another term he’ll be graduated from high school. Me being in public service is the only life he’s ever known.”
Ritchie said his decision wasn’t based on the fact that he would have faced a challenge in May’s primary by Mark Tussey, a cardiologist based in Frankfort.
“I’ve had opposition before and that had nothing to do with it,” he said. “It’s just time for me to make a few changes and live my life in a different manner.”
Ritchie, who has served as the state coroners association’s president and is currently its executive secretary, became coroner when his predecessor, Billy Huddleston, suffered a massive stroke.
“Because I was only 20, I had to get special permission from the state to serve as acting coroner,” Ritchie said.
Although his decision came as a surprise, Ritchie said it wasn’t one he made at the last minute.
“I started thinking about as far back as a year or two ago,” he said. “It’s been heavy on my mind, but it’s the best route for me and my family.”
As for the future, Ritchie did not rule out re-entering politics or public service.
“I will always care about this community and hope to be able to help in many other ways,” he said. “Who knows down the road what other political avenues I may follow.”
E-mail Ben Carlson at email@example.com.