Bill Raggio, the longest-serve state senator in Nevada history, announced his retirement Wednesday after 38 years.
In a statement, the moderate Reno Republican cited health reasons and slowing physical mobility for his resignation, which is to go into effect Jan. 15, before the 2011 Legislature convenes.
"I had hoped to complete the remainder of my 10th elected term, but my physical mobility simply does not allow me to function fully, and therefore it is time for me to step aside for someone who can give the position a 100 percent effort," he said in a statement.
Raggio, 84, was first elected to the Senate in 1972, and served as the Republican caucus leader for 28 years before he stepped aside in November after Sen. Mike McGinness, R-Fallon, launched a challenge to his leadership.
The 2011 Legislature convenes Feb. 7, and the Washoe County Commission will appoint a replacement.
Raggio said he hopes commissioner will appoint someone who shares his political values "and who will commit to working with others and across party lines to do what is in the best interests of our communities and our state."
Update: 12:46 p.m.
Statement from Milton Glick, president of the University of Nevada, Reno:
"Senator Raggio is a statesman and one of the great leaders in Nevada's history. He has led Nevada through challenges and opportunities, and has done so with grace and effectiveness. Nevada is fortunate to have had his service and, in particular, higher education owes him an enormous debt of gratitude. His advocacy for higher education is rooted in his recognition that higher education is vital to the future economy of the state and our quality of life."