Under the Dome

Sen. Soucek won’t seek re-election

Sen. Dan Soucek, a key part of the Republican takeover of the General Assembly in 2011, announced Thursday he will retire from the legislature after his term expires next year.

The Watauga County Republican made the announcement in a news release emailed by Senate Leader Phil Berger’s office.

“As Christmas approaches and I reflect on the past year, I realize there were more than 180 nights this year when I was not home to kiss my wonderful wife and three children goodnight,” Soucek said in the announcement. “It has been a great and humbling honor to be trusted by the citizens of northwestern North Carolina to represent them in the state Senate, but I can’t continue to faithfully serve both my family and constituents.”

Soucek worked with Samaritan’s Purse doing humanitarian and disaster relief. He spent more than eight years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot and is a member of the N.C. Army National Guard.

He is married and has three children.

He was co-chairman of a key education committee in the state Senate.

“Dan’s retirement is a big loss for the Senate and the people of his district, but his family deserves to have him back full-time,” Berger said in the statement.

With Thursday morning’s announcement, there are now 20 legislators planning to leave office next year, according to Jonathan Kappler (@jonathankappler), director of state government relations with the UNC system: 12 House retirements, three House resignations and five Senate retirements.