The Speaker of the New Brunswick legislature, Dale Graham, has announced he will not run in the September election.

The 62-year-old veteran Progressive Conservative MLA is retiring from politics, he said in a statement issued on Thursday evening.

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House Speaker Dale Graham is retiring from politics after serving 21 yeas as an MLA.

"I will retire as the member with the longest consecutive service, as Dean of the Legislature," he said.

Graham, who represents the riding of Carleton, has been an MLA for 21 years.

He has served as deputy premier, minister of Supply and Services, Human Resources, Service New Brunswick, and has chaired the policy and priorities committee.

"It has been a wonderful career full of lots of challenges and lots of wonderful people," said the married father of four and grandfather of 10.

"For every tough cabinet meeting and every difficult decision, there was a strawberry social, church supper, charity barbecue, or some other opportunity to stay connected to the people who count on us to do the right things at the right time."

Graham said he is proud of developments in the region over the past two decades, citing the new Hartland Community School, the Upper River Valley Hospital, Northern Carleton Civic Centre, and road upgrades as examples.

Graham was first elected to the legislative assembly as a member of the Progressive Conservatives in 1993 for the then riding of Carleton North in a byelection.

He was reelected in general elections in 1995, 1999, 2003, 2006 and 2010.

The race for the Progressive Conservative nod in the newly merged Upper River Valley riding is expected to be between incumbent Tory MLA Wes McLean and longtime Graham supporter, Dr. Colin Lockhart.