UPDATED The longest-serving Republican in the General Assembly announced Monday that he won’t seek re-election representing Catawba and Alexander counties.
Sen. Austin Allran of Hickory said after 17 terms in the legislature – three in the House and 14 in the Senate – that he wants time for other endeavors.
“It’s been a wonderful experience serving the people, and choosing not to run again has been a difficult decision to make,” Allran said in a news release. “But after talking it over with my family, we have decided after 34 years it is time to make a change.”
Rep. Andy Wells, a first-term Republican from Hickory, filed Monday to run for Allran’s seat.
Allran, who was first elected to the House in 1980, said he is proudest of his sponsorship of North Carolina’s graduated driver’s license law, which led to decreased crash rates among 16 year olds. “Thousands of people are alive today because of this law,” he said. “The whole country followed our lead, and then many nations in Europe.”
Allran also sponsored Rachel’s Law in 2005, which increased the prison time for those convicted of shooting into occupied vehicles. And in his first term in 1981, Allran sponsored a bill to raise the drinking age from 18 to 21, a change that became law during his second term.
Through the years, Allran has at times represented parts of Catawba, Alexander, Burke, Iredell, Lincoln and Yadkin counties. He is an attorney who describes himself as a fiscal and social conservative. Last year, he sponsored a bill that would have required a two-year waiting period to get a divorce, rather than the one year currently required in North Carolina. He said he wanted to reduce the state’s divorce rate. The “Healthy Marriage Act” was never heard by a committee.
Senate leader Phil Berger, a Rockingham County Republican, said Allran developed a “well-deserved reputation for outstanding constituent service.”
“There are no members with more valuable institutional knowledge than Sen. Allran, and I join my colleagues – and his constituents – in thanking him for many years of dedicated service,” Berger said.