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Tim Jones Won't Seek Statewide Office In 2016

Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

Tim Jones is done … at least for now.

The soon-to-be departing speaker of the Missouri House announced Thursday that he won't be seeking election to any statewide office in 2016. 

It was widely speculated that the long-time Republican lawmaker would run for attorney general, or possibly secretary of state, as he had expressed interest in both jobs at various times. But in a letter to his supporters, he says that he wants to spend more time with his family.  Here's an excerpt:

"After speaking with family and closest friends and praying for guidance, I have decided to take some time away from public office. My two daughters are growing up fast, and if I were to campaign for another two years, as I have for the past 15, that would be two more years I could not replace. There are three reasons that I have decided to suspend campaign activities — Katie, Abby and wife Suzanne."

The letter can be viewed here.

As of late October, Jones had raised $993,783.14 for a potential statewide political campaign.

He has, however, accepted a new position as a senior policy fellow at Lindenwood University's Hammond Institute, and in his letter also states that he is "keeping all options open for 2018 and beyond to serve our state and our nation."

Jones was first elected to the Missouri House in 2006. He was re-elected in 2008, 2010 and 2012.  He became majority floor leader in 2011 and took over as speaker in September 2012 after Steven Tilley, R-Perryville, left office early.

During his eight years in office, Jones has championed several causes close to the hearts of both fiscal and social conservatives. He's been one of the driving forces behind efforts to turn Missouri into a right-to-work state, and he has also recently pushed for the restoration of caps on damages in medical malpractice lawsuits. He also sponsored numerous bills in recent years to prevent health-care workers from being "required to perform or participate" in medical procedures that violate their religious or personal beliefs.

In 2012, Jones sponsored legislation that Gov. Jay Nixon signed into law that began the first round of reforms in the state's workers' compensation system by preventing employees from suing each other over injuries and illnesses suffered in the workplace.

In 2011, Jones sponsored legislation that effectively banned late-term abortions in Missouri. Nixon took no action on the bill and allowed it to become law.  That same year, Jones sponsored a resolution that did not pass: It would have designated Feb. 6 as Ronald Reagan Day in Missouri.

Jones also has family connections to the Missouri House.  He is first cousins with state Rep. Caleb Jones, R-California, and his uncle is former House member and former Moniteau County Sheriff Kenny Jones.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.