Manning MacDonald, the Liberal MLA for Cape Breton South, announced on Friday that he will not run in the next provincial election.
"It remains an honour to represent the good people of Cape Breton South, but it is time for renewal in the riding," MacDonald said in a statement.
"It's time in our organization to get some new people and I believe, quite firmly, that Stephen McNeil is going to do very well in the next election and I would hope that Cape Breton South could contribute to a Stephen McNeil government in the future."
MacDonald, who has been the Liberal house leader since 1997, said he's looking forward to new challenges that may arise for him in Cape Breton.
"I've got an eye to the future, certainly — but all those opportunities will have to wait until I'm officially retired," he said.
MacDonald, who turns 70 years old this year, has spent half his life in elected office. That includes 11 elections — five as mayor of Sydney and six as MLA — for a total of 34 years in elected life.
He told CBC News that continuing as a politician is not likely in the future.
"I think my thoughts will be turning to doing some other things rather than seeking elected office. If I was going to seek elected office in the future, I'd stay where I'm at," MacDonald said, laughing.
The veteran politician was elected the mayor of Sydney in 1978 and held the office until 1993. MacDonald resigned from the mayor's office in May 1993 and was elected to the Nova Scotia legislature later that same year.
MacDonald has been a cabinet minister and held various portfolios under Liberal premiers John Savage and Russell MacLellan, including labour and economic development and tourism.
While reflecting on the state of politics in the province, MacDonald said he believed the MLA expense scandal had a negative effect on the reputation of politicians.
"Most of the people in the legislature are there for all the right reasons, to serve the people of the province and I think that most of them have gotten the bum rap on that," he said.
"I believe that people in legislature deserve more than the opinion that's been out there and I've had nothing but good feelings towards my fellow legislators and I know that they're all there for the right reasons, serving the people that elected them."
MacDonald said until the next election is called, it will be business as usual in his constituency.
"I will continue to serve and work on behalf of the people of Cape Breton South," he said.