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Richard Patten has been a member of the Ontario Provincial Parliament for 15 years. Here he is shown addressing the legislature on Oct. 29, 2002. ((Ontario Provincial Parliament))

Ottawa Centre Liberal Richard Patten announced Wednesday that he won't be running for re-election.

After nearly 15 years in the legislature and with a provincial election just a few months away, the 64-year-old said he's decided to retire from politics so he could focus his efforts on one thing.

"When you're a [member of provincial parliament] you're a generalist. You do a lot of different things and you have to know a lot about a lot of different things," he said.

"While I'm retiring from politics, I'm not going to retire, and I really want to get into something that's focused and meaningful and not 50 issues."

Involved in CHEO Foundation since 1987

First elected in 1987, he served as a cabinet minister during his first three-year term before being defeated in the next election.

He joined the CHEO Foundation— a charity that supports the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario— before returning to politics in 1995, and he has retained his seat ever since.

Patten won the 2003 election by more than 10,000 ballots, with 45 per cent of the vote.

He said he's proud to have served the riding and to have worked on projects like the construction of Highway 416, the new Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the fight to keep child heart surgeries in Ottawa at CHEO.

Will retire one month before election

Patten said he'll continue his work until about a month before the Oct. 10 provincial election, and hasnot yet received any job offers, nor has he sought any.

Premier Dalton McGuinty issued a statement thanking Patten for his work and wishing him the best in the future.

"I am, of course, disappointed that someone with Richard's long experience and great work ethic has decided not to seek re-election," McGuinty said.

"But I can also understand that he might also want to take this opportunity to serve the public in other ways."