Nfld. & Labrador

Health worries prompt 3rd retirement from Tory caucus

Jim Hodder, who started his political career more than 30 years ago, announced Friday he is retiring from Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature.

'I thought I'd better get out ahead of the grim reaper': Hodder

Jim Hodder, who started his political career more than 30 years ago, announced Friday he is retiring from Newfoundland and Labrador's legislature.

Hodder, 66, is the third politician— all Conservatives — to resign from the house of assembly in the last two weeks.

Hodder, a backbencher in the governing Progressive Conservative caucus, said representing the west coast Newfoundland district of Port au Port has taken a toll on his health.

"Not only is it a busy job, but there's a lot of travel involved with it," Hodder told CBC News Friday.

"I have some medical problems and I haven't really been paying attention to them, so I thought I'd better get out ahead of the grim reaper."

Hodderwas first elected to the house of assembly, as a Liberal, in 1975. He crossed the floor to join Brian Peckford's Tories for the 1985 election, and left politics in 1993.

An educator by profession, Hodder was lured back to politics for the 2003 election.

Hodder's departure creates the third vacancy in the PC caucus.

Ed Byrne, who was forced from his cabinet seat in June because of the legislative spending scandal, subsequently quit his Kilbride seat, effective Jan. 1.

Loyola Sullivan, the former finance minister, surprised political circles in late December by retiring from provincial politics.

Hodder, a former chair of the Progressive Conservative caucus, said he decided to resign his seat immediately so that Williams may order byelections in all three districts at once.

Several weeks ago, Williams asked members of his caucus to declare whether they intend to run in the general election scheduled for Oct. 9. Williams said last week he expected "a few" departures from the caucus.

Meanwhile, Hodder dismissed as untrue rumours that his son will seek to replace him in the legislature.

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