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Longtime Western Maryland state lawmaker George C. Edwards retiring from Senate

Maryland state Sen. George C. Edwards, a Republican from Garrett County, announced Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election next year and will instead retire from the General Assembly after nearly four decades representing Western Maryland.

Edwards, 73, was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1982 and held that seat for a quarter-century before winning a Maryland Senate seat in 2007 representing Garrett and parts of Allegany and Washington counties. He previously served as minority leader in the House of Delegates and currently co-chairs the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Legislative ethics, a notable perch for a Republican in the Democrat-dominated state legislature.

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Edwards, in a statement, wrote that he planned to spend more time with his family once he leaves office after missing “a lot of activities with my kids when they were young” while spending time at the State House in Annapolis.

“As a Republican in a heavily Democrat Maryland I believe I have helped make a lot of great improvements in District One,” Edwards said in his statement, which was posted to Facebook by his son, Paul C. Edwards, a Republican Garrett County commissioner.

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The state Senate Republican Caucus called Edwards a “beloved ‘Mountain Man’” and said they’d miss his ”straight shooter style sprinkled with some Western Maryland charm and annual snow reports from the mountains.”

Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Baltimore Democrat, said Edwards “represented Western Maryland with compassion and zealousness in multiple positions” and “made sure every senator understood the needs of his district and always approached negotiations from a standpoint of getting to a resolution, not to obstruct.”

Edwards, a Grantsville native, played football at Fairmont State College in West Virginia and was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1970. A former member of the Maryland National Guard, Edwards served on the Grantsville Town Council and as a Garrett County commissioner before joining the General Assembly.

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