She survived a bout with cancer several years ago but, ever since her return to active duty in the State Senate, has been a frequent source of speculation concerning how much longer the 19-year veteran of the upper chamber would continue to serve.
Allen did not elaborate on her retirement reasoning in a statement obtained by Save Jersey but did reference lingering health concerns.
“It’s not possible to sum up a career as distinguished as Diane’s in a few words, or to adequately voice the respect she has earned from all of her colleagues in the Legislature,” declared Senate GOP Leader Tom Kean, Jr. in the wake of Allen’s announcement.
Looking ahead to June and November, Senator Allen joins Kevin O’Toole (R-40), Jim Whelan (D-2) and Joe Kyrillos (R-13) on a growing list of high-profile legislative retirements ahead of this year’s state-wide elections when all 120 seats are up.
The Democrat-lean district could now see a battle between Asm. Troy Singleton (D, Palmyra) and recently reelected GOP Burlington County Sheriff Jean Stanfield to succeed her.
Here’s the long-time State Senator and former Philadelphia television news personality‘s statement:
It has always been my intention to run for another term in the New Jersey Senate; however, over the last few weeks I have come to realize I must face some health issues that I have been trying to ignore. Consequently, with my family’s support, I have decided to make this term my last and 2017 my last year in office.
“I have a number of medical concerns that sometimes make it difficult for me to put in the same time and effort I have been able to expend in the past. While this is supposedly a part time position, I have never treated it as such. Fortunately, I believe I can maintain a pace to continue to serve my district this year. What I can’t imagine is adding the many extra hours a campaign would require. I want to expend my energy serving my constituents and working to solve the problems they and the rest of us in New Jersey face.
“There are many important pieces of legislation that need to be passed this year, as well as wrongs that need to be set right. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, as usual, to try to accomplish these goals.
“I am forever grateful to the people of the 7th District for giving me the amazing gift of letting me serve them for more than 21 years. I also am so appreciative of the many people who have helped me through the years in so many ways. There are those who stand on conviction, who follow their moral compass and who put people over politics. I look forward to continuing to work with them this coming year.”
New Jersey’s 7th Legislative District is contained in Burlington County, encompassing the municipalities of Beverly City, Bordentown City, Bordentown Township, Burlington City, Burlington Township, Cinnaminson Township, Delanco Township, Delran Township, Edgewater Park Township, Fieldsboro Borough, Florence Township, Moorestown Township, Mount Laurel Township, Palmyra Borough, Riverside Township, Riverton Borough and Willingboro Township.