Anne Arundel County Council member Jamie Benoit (D-District 4) said he will not run for county executive in 2014, but did not rule out a bid for political office further into the future.
In a letter to supporters and the media, Benoit said he would return to being a private citizen once his Council term is up in 2014. He had long been named as a possible candidate for county executive and acknowledged interest in the position. But he said it was time to take a break from "juggling" his responsibilities of government, business and family.
"Serving in office with all the other things going on in my life has been a true juggling act," he said. "While I would very much like to continue juggling, I have concluded that something has to give. For now, that something is government."
Benoit had also briefly explored running for Congress in Maryland's 4th District last year, but decided against entering the primary race against Donna Edwards.
Benoit is the CEO of Federal Data Systems, a company that provides information technology systems to businesses and the government. He and his wife also have three children, including a baby born in 2012.
The Council member made clear that he was not retiring from politics altogether, suggesting he could run for office again as soon as 2018.
"While the decision to temporarily step away from public service was difficult, I am certain it is right for me, for my family and my company," he wrote. "I can likewise assure you that I haven’t run my last race. When I do run again, whether in 2018 or later, I hope I can count on the same unfaltering support you have given me for the past 6 years."
Here is the full text of Benoit's letter:
I am writing today because I count you among my friends. I am grateful for the support and guidance you have given to me since I took office 6 years ago. Over the past few months, many people have urged me to stay in elective office. Not at all satisfied with the candidates running for County Executive in 2014 or the state of affairs in our County today, I have spent several months considering a run of my own.
I have spoken at length with my wife and children, each of whom support a 2014 run for County Executive. I have the support of the executives in my company, and most of the organizations in the County that get involved in countywide elections. It’s a race I know I can win and a job I know I will do well.
My Grandfather, who himself served in elected office, once told me that serving in elected office is a privilege not a profession. Serving the County for the past 6 years has indeed been one of the great privileges of my life.
Yet, I am reminded of and have been ultimately swayed by the larger principles embodied by my grandfather’s words. Politics is not and has never been a profession for me. I ran in 2006 to make my community a better place and when term limits force me from the 4th District Council seat in 2014, I will leave absolutely certain I have done that.
At the end of the day, however, serving in elected office is not my profession. That’s why I am writing today- to tell you I will not be a candidate for County Executive or any other elected office in 2014.
Serving in office with all the other things going on in my life has been a true juggling act. While I would very much like to continue juggling, I have concluded that something has to give. For now, that something is government.
Since taking office in 2006, much has happened in my life. When I ran, I had a toddler and an infant. Today Isabelle and Iris are quickly growing girls and Kari and I just welcomed a third daughter, Tilly, in March. When I ran in 2006, I was managing a predictable, controllable law practice. Today, I am the CEO of a corporation that has grown exponentially in the few years I have owned it and is poised for astronomical growth in the coming 18-24 months. I need to be home for my children and at the office for my employees and their families who are counting on me.
I decided to let the public know my plans well in advance of the 2014 election because I know many were withholding support of other potential candidates until I made a decision. Likewise, I know there are several people considering a run of their own and wanted to clear the way for those individuals to make a decision with full knowledge that I would not be in the race.
This was not easy for me. I want to build on my record of funding a public school system of which I am so proud, balancing budgets, being fair to County businesses, supporting our workforce and promoting environmental stewardship. I’m most proud to have worked with our State leaders to bring about the huge, historic school construction initiative that is underway in the Annapolis High School feeder system, during a six-year period when Annapolis had three different Councilmembers. I would love to stay to see that type of commitment made to other parts of the County.
While the decision to temporarily step away from public service was difficult, I am certain it is right for me, for my family and my company. I can likewise assure you that I haven’t run my last race. When I do run again, whether in 2018 or later, I hope I can count on the same unfaltering support you have given me for the past 6 years.
In 2014, however, I will reclaim my place as a private citizen and will hope that you help elect people competent to run our County government. Until that time, I will continue to serve with the same discipline, determination, energy and honesty that you deserve and expect from me.
I hope you and your family have a safe and prosperous 2013.
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the congressional race that Benoit considered entering. He had considered vying for the Democratic nomination for the Maryland's 4th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, but did not enter the race.