Ann Purcell is bringing her career under Georgia’s Gold Dome to a close.
Purcell, a Rincon Republican, said Monday she will not seek re-election to her 159th District seat and is retiring from the state House of Representatives.
“I decided several weeks ago,” she said. “I was waiting for the proper time and making sure I informed a few folks before I made my official announcement. I just wanted to make sure folks knew how much I appreciated serving them, and I will continue serving them to the best of my ability and knowledge until someone else is sworn in in January.”
Purcell served in the state House from 1990-2005 and won a special election to her current post in 2009. She is the chairman of the House Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee and is vice-chairman of the Government Affairs Committee. She also serves on the Economic Development and Tourism, Appropriations, Health and Human Resources, and Education committees.
Before being re-elected to the General Assembly, Purcell served on the state Technical and Adult Education Board, having been appointed by then-Gov. Sonny Perdue.
Purcell and her husband Dent, a radiologist, have three children and eight grandchildren.
“Dent and I are in good health. We want to do some traveling,” she said.
Rep. Purcell said her and her husband’s wish to spend more time with their family led to her decision not to seek another term in office.
“I feel like I need to spend some time with them,” she said. “Time is too short, sometimes, and you need to take advantage when you’ve got good health and you can take advantage of those situations.
“This wasn’t a spur of the moment kind of thing,” Purcell added. “I thought about, ‘what do I really want to do?’”
Purcell also has served on the Georgia Art Commission and the advisory board for the Jekyll Island Authority. She also is seen as being instrumental in the creation of the Savannah Technical College Effingham campus and the placement of the Georgia State Patrol post on Highway 21.
She also has been president of the Georgia Salzburger Society and is a life member of the YMCA, Historic Effingham Society and Effingham Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s been a hard decision. I love being involved, and I will still be very involved in our community,” Purcell added. “That will not change. This community is very important to me, and the state of Georgia is very important to me.”
District 159 includes south Effingham and west Chatham and until reapportionment, it was one of the largest in terms of population in the state.
Earlier this year, she received the Outstanding Legislator of the Year Award from the Georgia Council on Aging and the Legislator of the Year award from the Assisted Living Federation of America and the Georgia Community Care Association. Purcell was honored for efforts on Senate Bill 178, which established the “assisted living community” as a new category of long-term health care provider in Georgia.
Purcell also was co-sponsor of legislation designed to protect the public from what are deemed to be “dangerous dogs,” under HB 685. Her bill, HB 717, was amended into HB 685. The bill is awaiting Gov. Nathan Deal’s signature after passing the House 157-0 and the Senate 50-1.
“It has been my honor to represent the people of my district for 17 years, but while my husband and I still have good health, we feel it’s important to spend time with our family,” Purcell said. “I have learned much and have enjoyed working with my colleagues in the State House. But my greatest joy has been getting to know and work hard for the people that I represent. I have tried to serve them diligently and respectfully. I appreciate their trust for so many years.”