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WASHINGTON-Senator Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), famous-or infamous-for leaving the Republican party a few years ago and pushing the Senate in favor of the Democrats, recently announced that he would not seek re-election in 2006. Jeffords will have served 18 years in the Senate and served in the House for several years before that. He switched from the Republican party in 2001 after disagreements with the Bush administration. He is the ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and a member of the Finance; Health, Education, Labor& Pensions; Veterans’ Affairs; and Special Aging committees. In making his announcement, Jeffords said, “I have had an enormously satisfying career, one that I would not have traded for any other. In no other job do you have both the freedom and obligation to solve problems and help people on a daily basis.” He cited his wife’s upcoming round of chemotherapy treatment for cancer and his own “aches and pains that come when you reach 70,” as well as memory lapses for making this decision now. He also said he would be welcoming his first grandchild in a few weeks. Several potential candidates names have swirled around since the announcement, including the state’s Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders.

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