CUMBERLAND — State Sen. George C. Edwards will retire at the end of his current term, ending a career in public service that spanned nearly five decades.
“After much thought and prayer I have decided that I will not seek re-election ...,” Edwards (R-Allegany, Garrett, Washington) said in a statement Tuesday. “The 2022 session will be my 40th year in the General Assembly, with 24 years in the House of Delegates and 16 years in the Senate.
“Being in Annapolis for three months out of every one of those years for session is equal to 10 years total being away from home and that does not include the time attending many other functions over those years,” he said.
Edwards’ term ends in January 2023.
“God has been good to me and has blessed me with a great family and I appreciate all of the support from them during those 40 years, especially my wife Linda. I missed a lot of activities with my kids when they were young and also with my older grandchildren," said Edwards, 73, and a Grantsville resident. “Retiring from the Senate will allow me to spend more time with my family.”
“I’m honored to have served with him,” said Del. Wendell Beitzel (R-Garrett, Allegany), a fellow Garrett County resident. “He is a good friend and we have worked very closely together. I think he’s been a leader and done a great job representing us. I’m sure it was a tough decision, but I respect his decision and am grateful for his dedication. Now he can spend time at home and enjoy the grandkids.”
Edwards served on the Grantsville Town Council and Board of Garrett County Commissioners before being elected in 1982 as delegate for District 1A. He was sworn in Jan. 12, 1983.
He won election to the Senate in 2006, winning the seat vacated by Sen. John J. Hafer.
“As a Republican in a heavily Democrat Maryland I believe I have helped make a lot of great improvements in District 1,” Edwards said. “Many of the bills that I sponsored and got passed will positively impact District 1 and the state well into the future.”
“I think the number one thing that people should remember is he has given blood, sweat and tears and has been a stalwart in Annapolis,” said Del. Mike McKay (R-Allegany, Washington). “When he speaks, people listen. He has been a mentor for so many people. I’m one of them and I think the world of him. He will be missed by the voters and in Annapolis.”
Jake Shade, a fellow Republican and president of the Allegany County Board of Commissioners, said, “He has been such a great representative from our area for so long and I appreciate his years of service. It’s been nice to work with him because he is such a respected servant. He’s an honest, straight-shooting, great guy and he will be missed.”
The Senate Republican Caucus issued a statement on Tuesday.
“Our members and staff will miss our beloved ‘Mountain Man.’ George is a respected leader who promoted and defended Western Maryland and all rural areas of the state. We will miss his straight-shooter style sprinkled with some Western Maryland charm and annual April snow reports from the mountains. We would especially like to thank his wife, Linda, and the entire Edwards family for sharing him with us for the past 38 years.”
“I have been blessed with great staff who have worked together with me to assist thousands of people over the years,” said Edwards. “I have gained a lot of new friends and have met many wonderful people. I will continue to work hard over the next 18 months and I will always fight to help Mountain Maryland whenever I can, now and in the future. Thanks to all, especially those of you who have been with me throughout this great journey. God bless.”