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State Sen. Stephen Brewer of Barre will retire at end of term

Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, the Democrat from Barre announced Thursday he would retire at the end of his current two-year term, his eighth in the Senate after five terms in the House.

“I’m honored, simply honored to be in this building every single day,” Brewer said. What a privilege and an honor it has been.”

Brewer, 65, first came to Beacon Hill as a legislative aide when Jimmy Carter was in the White House. He noted that his tenure has spanned seven governors.

Brewer said falling short of his recent bid for the top leadership post in the Senate was not a major factor in his decision to retire. Sen. Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst won the nod for Senate president and will succeed Therese Murray, who is prohibited by term limits from serving as president beyond next March.

The Ways and Means Committee is responsible for developing the Senate version of the state budget, a process that will begin in earnest next week when Gov. Deval Patrick delivers his proposed spending plan to the Legislature.

Brewer, who said he considers public service a “noble cause,” said he hopes to do some teaching after leaving office and will spend more time with his wife and family. The couple has two adult children.

A University of Massachusetts graduate, Brewer also told reporters he wants to learn how to play the banjo.

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