State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, D-Spokane, announced Thursday she will not seek re-election in November.

“Returning home two weeks ago, I began taking stock of my 20 years in the Legislature, reflecting on what I have been able to achieve with the help of colleagues and supporters. I decided that, though it is still immensely gratifying to serve Spokane and the state of Washington in this capacity, I am ready for new challenges,” Brown said in a statement.

She did not say what new challenges she may seek. She holds a part-time teaching position at Gonzaga University.

Her decision could increase the chances of Democrats losing control of the state Senate in the fall. Democrats currently outnumber Republicans by only 27-22 in the Senate.

Elected to the Senate in 1996, Brown became Democratic leader in 2003 and the first Democratic woman in state history to hold the title of Senate majority leader, from 2005-2012. She was minority leader between 2003-2005. 

Before being elected to the state Senate, Brown served two  terms in the state House, 1992-1996.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said, “Our state is a better place to live and work because of Lisa’s determination to make it that way. From establishing a medical school in Spokane, to moving forward with the North-South Freeway, Lisa has helped build a stronger Spokane that is positioned to succeed in the 21st Century. Today, I join with a chorus of others in thanking her for her many years of service and wishing her well in the future.”