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'Twenty-two years is long enough': Conservative leader Damon Thayer announces retirement from Kentucky legislature

FRANKFORT, July 19- Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, gives an update on sports wagering in Kentucky that will begin in September. He spoke during Wednesday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue
Kentucky LRC Public Information
Senate Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown, gives an update on sports wagering in Kentucky that will begin in September. He spoke during Wednesday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue

The Majority Floor Leader of the Kentucky Senate has announced plans to retire from the legislature. Republican Damon Thayer of Georgetown announced on Wednesday that he won't seek re-election after his current term ends in Dec. 2024.

Thayer has served for more than two decades in the state senate, and as the longest-serving Republican Senate Majority Floor Leader in Kentucky history.

In an interview on WVLK radio in Lexington, Thayer said he's accomplished most of the goals he set out to achieve.

“Helping take the Republican super majority to 31 in the Senate and helping my friends in the House get to 80, the political goals have been important, and we’ve done that,” he said.

As for policy goals, Thayer played a key role in sports betting legislation, the passage of right-to-work legislation and tax reform. While acknowledging he's feeling a little burnout, Thayer said nothing precipitated his decision to leave the General Assembly.

“I’d rather leave a little too soon than stay too long," Thayer said on the WVLK program Larry Glover Live. "I’ve seen two of my colleagues, CB Embry and Tom Buford, die in these jobs.”

In his last legislative session that begins in January, Thayer said his biggest priority will be passing a constitutional amendment to allow for “school choice” initiatives like charter schools which recently suffered defeat in Franklin Circuit Court.

Thayer told the Herald-Leader that he’s encouraging current Senate Majority Caucus Chair Julie Raque Adams of Louisville to replace him as floor leader.

After retirement, Thayer says he wants to put more time into his bourbon company and consulting firm. Thayer, 56, didn’t rule out another run for elected office in the future.