MAYVILLE - Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards will not be seeking a third term when his current term ends in January.
The two-term Republican made the announcement during a press conference late Friday afternoon.
"After much thought and reflection, and after significant review with my family, I have decided that I will not be seeking a third term as Chautauqua County Executive," Edwards said. "I have been blessed with the chance to do important work helping the people of this county, and I have made many close friends that will always be a special part of my life. But, I did not begin this work with the intention of making it my career."
Although he said the outpouring of support and encouragement to run for a third term has been tremendous, he has decided to pursue other opportunities.
"Everything in life has a season, and there's a time for every purpose," Edwards said. "After talking long and hard with my family and friends, I'm excited about what else lies out there that I can become engaged in and commit to. Eight years is a significant time to serve in a leadership role, so I'm looking forward to the opportunities to pursue a new venture."
Edwards was a lawyer for 18 years before becoming county executive. He hopes that in the future he will be able to combine the skills he had as a lawyer with the ones he picked up in the position of county executive.
"I think this experience of leading this wonderful organization, building the team that we built, delivering on the promises that we gave, I think opens the door for me to use this experience, this track record, to hopefully lead another organization," Edwards said. "I look forward to that, and I have faith ... I'm confident that opportunity will present itself."
Although his name has been tossed around as a potential candidate for the position, Edwards said his announcement is not a set up to run for governor.
"I truly believe that I have committed myself whole-heartedly to the work that has needed to take place here in the county, but I do not at this time have my eyes set on another elected position," Edwards said.
As for his decision to make the announcement now, in part he is looking out for the county's appointed leaders. He said his decision has been very emotional, as he regards everyone as a team.
On the other hand, Edwards said some appointed officials may have gone on to other ventures, even if he had chose to pursue a third term. He said by making the announcement now, it gives everyone ample time to decide their next steps.
"I firmly believe that these folks are so talented, that their records are so significant, that the capacities that they bring to their jobs are so impressive, that someone following this position will be hard-pressed to find somebody better," Edwards said. "I look forward to working with whoever, eight months from now, is engaged in the transition process. I will do my best to explain the talents of those who are here."
The county Democrats will be announcing their candidate for county executive next week. Norm Green, Democratic party chairman, said Edwards' announcement will not influence their decision.
"Other people may come forward, you know, it's a democratic process, but if they do, I'm certainly not going to change my mind and go after a more attractive person," Green said Friday. "I think this person we are going to announce is very attractive."
Edwards said he feels the end of the year is truly the best time for him to step away from the county executive position, in order to allow someone else to step in to lead the county. Regardless of the candidates, he said he is committed toward helping to find a successor.
"I am absolutely committed to assisting in any way I can to find the absolute best person, that has the best qualifications, the best intentions, the best capacities to step into this role, to assure that we move forward in the best way we can in the county," he said.