State Rep. Carolyn Tomei this weekend reversed her announcement from September, saying instead she will not run for re-election to her House District 41 seat representing Milwaukie, Oak Grove and parts of Southeast Portland.

by: FILE PHOTO  - TomeiThere’s only one other person in the Oregon Legislature who’s served as long as the Democrat from Milwaukie — Rep. Phil Barnhart of Springfield — and Tomei’s commitment to 13 years of public policy earned her accolades from House Speaker Tina Kotek.

Tomei is proud of the new state laws she’s successfully sponsored since 2000 to improve public health, raise awareness about gambling addiction and crack down on sex trafficking.

During her tenure, she championed the Indoor Clean Air Act, funding for the Sellwood Bridge/Milwaukie light rail, prohibitions against texting while driving and legislation to require parents to seek medical treatment for seriously ill children instead of relying on faith healing. Tomei also serves the mentally ill as a member of the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board.

Tomei filed as soon as she could to “forestall those rumors” that cropped up two and fours years ago about her not running again. Then started talking about it with her husband. The final straw was seeing the photo of her eight-month-old great-grandson every day in her office in Salem, and wishing she could spend more time with her family. She said she wanted to wait until the end of the legislative session Friday to make her announcement, which would allow the most time for others to file without coloring her advocacy in Salem.

Tomei had tried to require the Oregon State Lottery Commission to adopt a comprehensive responsible gambling policy, but that bill didn’t pass this session. But one of the other bills she sponsored this year allows the state lottery to use funds to help reinstate a problem-gambling prevention ad campaign.

“It’s a very positive step into another part of my life: my family,” she said. “There are disappointments every session, but that’s not why I’m choosing to leave.”

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