State Rep. Rick Olson, R-York Twp., announced Thursday he will not seek re-election in 2012.
As late as Wednesday, in district that had become 65 percent Democratic after being redrawn in 2011.
In a press release issued Thursday, Olson said he had been assessing the political landscape ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline for the election. He was hoping for a contested race for his position on the Democrat ballot and little, if anything, on the Republican primary ballot in August. With a share of the Democrat vote and help from Republicans, he saw a path to returning to serve the people of the district, according to the release. That, however, is not how it is shaping up. There will be a contested race in the Republican primary for York Township Supervisor, the only Republican stronghold in Olson's new district. Without Republican crossover votes in the August primary, winning a Democratic primary becomes more difficult, according to the release.
As “I’m not interested in running to lose,” Olson said.
Redistricting changed District 55 from 51 percent Democratic district 65 percent Democratic.
So far, the Democratic field includes Pittsfield Township Trustee Andrea Brown-Harrison and Ann Arbor resident Adam Zemke.
Olson thanked voters and said he will find other ways to serve.
"I thank the voters for the opportunity to serve these two years. I am confident that there will be other opportunities to serve the people of the state, as serving as state representative has created an opportunity to showcase the many talents and energy I bring to any task,” Olson said. “There will be bright days ahead, not only for me, but for the people of Michigan."
Olson said he tried to emulate Gov. Rick Snyder in being ready and willing to tackle complex issues.
“Good public policy for the people is more important than partisan politics. I have attempted to be non-confrontational in working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, both Republicans and Democrats, on issues such as road and bridge funding and the proposed Regional Transit Authority,” Olson said. “The many friends I have made the past two years who have seen me at work tell me the people of the State of Michigan have been well served by my talents and energy."
He said Michigan has made progress since his election in 2010.
"We have made significant, perhaps historic, progress in Michigan in the last two years. Unemployment is down. State revenues are up. Many historic reforms have been enacted, which I am proud to have been a part of. But we have much more to do. The status quo is not acceptable, with many people still unemployed and the mortgage foreclosure crisis not fully behind us,” Olson said. “As much as we rejoice in the rebound in the auto industry in the state, we are still too reliant on the auto industry for jobs in Michigan. I was hoping to continue to be a part of the reinvention of Michigan."