West Island MNAs Yolande James and Pierre Marsan, and Trois-Rivières MNA Danielle St-Amand announced today that they will not seek re-election.

James, 36, has represented the West Island riding of Nelligan for nearly 10 years.

She was the youngest MNA and the first black cabinet minister in Quebec history.

James says she’s stepping down to spend more time with her 10-month-old son.

“It’s a decision that is very difficult for me because I still love politics, but infancy passes by so quickly. I am so happy to have my family and I want to be close to them,” she said.

James' West Island colleague, Pierre Marsan, also consulted his family before stepping down.

The MNA for Robert Baldwin was first elected in the riding in 1994 and has held the seat ever since.

"After 20 years in politics I decided, after consulting my wife ... and my two sons, that it was time to step down and to give the opportunity for someone else to work," he said.

Marsan said he looks forward to working with the next party candidate in order to ensure the riding remains a Liberal stronghold.

St-Amand, who was first elected in 2008, said she has decided to pull out because of health reasons. She suffered an illness several months ago, and St-Arnaud said she is now having trouble sleeping and keeping up with her work.

For now, St-Amand said she plans to take some time to rest and recover. 

Marsan's legacy marred by controversial letter

Veteran politician Marsan sparked controversy last fall over a letter he sent to his constituents.

The letter, signed by Marsan, was distributed at a synagogue in Dollard-des-Ormeaux.

The letter reminded members of the West Island Sephardic Jewish Association that when Quebec Liberals were in power, the Jewish community had "profited from generous contributions."

The controversial letter prompted an investigation by Quebec's chief electoral officer.

Marsan later apologized to the national assembly.