Topeka Senate President Dave Kerr announced Saturday that he would not seek re-election this year.
The Hutchinson Republican's decision will end a 20-year legislative career that included four years as the Senate's top leader, five as the chairman of its Ways and Means Committee and an unsuccessful run for governor in 2002.
Kerr, 59, made his announcement while presiding over the Senate's final session. He said he had decided not to run for governor again, then began to think about his future in the Senate.
"It was kind of a progressive process," Kerr said. "I began thinking about how to spend the years ahead. If I hurry, I can squeeze in another career, yet."
Kerr thanked his colleagues, legislative staff and his family.
"My family has always been as supportive as it could be," Kerr said.
He added: "If I were granted one wish for the Senate, it would be that you'll treat each other with even greater civility and respect."
Kerr joined Republican Sens. Bill Bunten, Topeka; Ed Pugh, Wamego, and Robert Tyson, Parker, in not seeking re-election.
The House's senior member, Rep. Bill Reardon, D-Kansas City, also had announced he would not run again. Also announcing plans to leave the Legislature were Reps. Larry Campbell, R-Olathe; Bill Mason, R-El Dorado; Melvin Minor, D-Stafford; Vern Osborne, R-St. George; Doug Patterson, R-Leawood; and Dan Williams, R-Olathe.
Reps. Rob Boyer, R-Olathe; Jeff Goering, R-Wichita; Dan Thimesch, D-Cheney; and R.J. Wilson, D-Pittsburg, have announced plans to seek other offices.
Senate Majority Leader Lana Oleen, R-Manhattan, said she and Kerr were "a couple of bulls" who shared similar birthdays, a strong will and a good working relationship.
"We were able to find common threads more often than not," Oleen said. "Our styles are different. Because of that, we were both approachable. Between us, we could share that access."