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Wisconsin Gov. Doyle won't seek re-election

Gov. Jim Doyle has announced that he will not seek a third term as governor.

At a press conference at 11 a.m. Monday, Doyle said he intends to complete his entire term.

"Over the next year and a half, I will be the governor, and not a candidate," he said. "And I believe that without all the politics we can get a lot done."

Through his long political career, Doyle said he and his wife, Jessica, have dedicated themselves to working for others.

Doyle and his wife worked as Peace Corps volunteers; a lawyer and a teacher on the Navajo Indian Reservation; district attorney; attorney general; and governor and first lady.

"When I first ran for governor in 2002, Jessica and I assumed that if I was fortunate enough to be elected, it would be a two-term commitment," he said. "As I have thought long and hard about this decision, I have come back to this starting point. As much as I love the job, as hard as I work at it and as much as my team and I have to contribute in a third term, I believe that a governor should limit him or herself to two terms."

Doyle said he is already the longest serving Democratic governor and by the end of his term he will be the second-longest serving governor in Wisconsin history.

By limiting the number of terms governors serve, Doyle said the political world doesn't become stagnant.

"It allows new leaders to develop," he said. "It gives the voters more choices. It allows us to draw new insights and inspiration from the wellsprings of renewal in each generation."

Doyle said he may regret his decision as his term draws near, but he said he won't change his mind.

"I am not going to go Brett Favre on you," he said. "I am announcing my decision now to allow other candidates to step forward and get going."

Doyle recounted the many things he's been able to accomplish during his term as governor.

He noted that the state now guarantees that every child in Wisconsin can get health insurance coverage.

The state has also "strengthened classrooms and given school districts and teachers the freedom to negotiate innovative and reasonable contracts," he said.

He also noted his work on proetcting the Great Lakes, job creation and smoke-free legislation.

He pledged to do even more in the coming months to strengthen Wisconsin.

"We are going to do even more on education, health care, job creation and the environment," he said.

It didn't take area elected officials to react to the announcement.

State Rep. Ann Hraychuck (D-Balsam Lake) said she's worked closely with Doyle for many years. While they haven't agreed on every issue, Hraychuck said Doyle was always "open and willing to talk."

"I think he has been a strong leader in a very difficult time," she said. "I wish him well in whatever he decides to do next."

State Rep. John Murtha (R-Baldwin) said he was not surprised by the governor's decision.

"Gov. Doyle has presided over our state during very trying times," he said. "I commend him for his service to our state, and I wish him well in his future endeavors, whatever they may be. However, the eventual outcome due to this announcement is a welcome and much needed change to our state's political landscape. Throughout the governor's two terms in office we have seen continual budget deficits, questionable ethical behavior by the governor and his administration, a decline in business and the entrepreneurial spirit of our state resulting in the loss of millions of jobs, and the continuation of a 'tax more, spend even more' mentality in Madison."

Murtha said he was pleased to hear that the governor has decided to serve out his term in office.

"This announcement does not, and cannot, distract the governor and the members of the Legislature from doing the job that the voters have sent us to do," he said. "I look forward to working with Gov. Doyle, and my colleagues in the legislature, to do what is best for our constituents, and our state, during the time remaining in the legislative session."

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-Third District) thanked Doyle for his years of public service to the people of Wisconsin.

"As attorney general for over a decade, and as our Governor since 2002, he has devoted his time and energy to serving the people of Wisconsin," he said. "I have enjoyed working with him and wish him the best in the future."

Kind said he's been encouraged to consider a run for the governor's seat, but said he won't make up his mind quite yet.

"I am considering it," he said. "In the weeks to come I will make my decision. At this time; however, my focus is on my work in Congress to continue efforts to strengthen the economy, grow jobs and make health care affordable for all."

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) said he was sad to learn of Doyle's decision.

"He has been a great Governor with many outstanding accomplishments, from championing public education and expanding health care for children, to protecting SeniorCare," he said. "He has worked to promote our state's largest industry, agriculture, while attracting new high tech jobs - and nobody has worked harder to protect the Great Lakes. We are indebted to him for his service and wish him well as he continues to finish out his term."