LYNCHBURG, Va (WFXR) — Senator Newman announced on Wednesday, March 16, that he will be retiring from public office. He began his political career at just 23 years old as a city council member in Lynchburg. Newman says after 35 years serving the community, he’s ready to take this opportunity to spend more time with loved ones.

“I’ve really been honored to have that opportunity to represent our area, so I’m really just grateful to each and every one of them who allowed me the opportunity to serve,” said Senator Newman.

During his time in office, Newman served on several committees including transportation, education and health, and Finance and Appropriation committees. Liberty University Professor of Government Aaron Van Allen says Newman made notable impacts in all of these categories.

“He’s somebody that knows how the process is to make things happen. He also knows when it’s time to take a step back,” said Van Allen.

Following redistricting in the state, District 23 Senator Stephen Newman and District 22 Senator Mark Peake would both have been competing for the District 8 seat.

Political Science professor from Radford University, Dr. Chapman Rackaway says when this happens it can create unexpected competition between candidates.

“When you start shifting those district boundaries, sometimes you put two incumbents in the same district, they have to fight it out. Incumbents are almost always your strongest candidates,” said Dr. Rackaway.

However, when asked about redistricting, both Newman and Peake said if Newman had run again, Peake would have stepped down.

“Mark Peake told me almost a year ago that if I decided to run, he would not,” said Newman.

Peake adds that he believes the decision to step down would have been the better choice for the district as a whole should Senator Newman have decided to run.

“Nobody could get as much done for our area as he could, so if he wanted to run again, it’d be best for our area that he run again,” said Peake.

Peake adds that he is thankful to have had the chance to work alongside Newman for the past few years, but Newman says he is ready to dedicate his time to his family.

“Given the opportunity to spend more time with my wife Kim, my two boys, and a grandchild that just came, it would be the right time to make a change and allow others to serve,” said Newman.

When asked about future plans, Senator Newman says right now he is just focusing on his personal life but adds that he will never say never when it comes to future opportunities.

Dr. Rackaway says that for the 2023 elections, voters should also be informed about who is on their ballot following redistricting as they may see some changes.