Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie
Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. co-chairing an Environment Committee meeting earlier in the day (Christine Stuart / ctnewsjunkie)

HARTFORD, CT — In a late Wednesday evening email, Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. announced he wouldn’t seek a third term in the Connecticut Senate.

Kennedy, 56, said he wants to spend more time in his role as chairman of the American Association of People with Disabilities. The son of the late-U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said the decision not to seek re-election “was a very difficult one because I love my job and the legislative process.”

Kennedy, co-chairman of the Environment Committee, said he’s worked hard since 2014 to “author and pass over 60 new laws that help to preserve and protect Long Island Sound and our natural environment, prevent exposure to toxic pesticides, strengthen access to home care and other health care services, and make our state government more responsive, affordable and business-friendly.

“Serving the needs of residents and local businesses has always been important to me, and I am especially proud to have resolved hundreds of individual constituent issues,” Kennedy said. “I plan to remain active in the civic and cultural life of the Shoreline community and will continue to work hard to improve the quality of life in Connecticut.”

Kennedy replaced Sen. Ed Meyer in what had been a traditionally Republican seat before Meyer beat then-Sen. Bill Aniskovich. The district includes the towns of Branford, Guilford, Madison, North Branford, Durham, and Killingworth.

Kennedy faced criticism following the 2014 election for using $207,000 in campaign funds from the Democratic Party in addition to the $94,690 in public funds from the Citizens Election Program.

A complaint filed by the Madison Republican Town Committee chairman alleged the money Kennedy’s friends and family gave to the party were then illegally earmarked for his campaign.

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has fallen so far behind in adjudicating election complaints that the one against Kennedy has yet to be resolved.

Kennedy’s decision could have ramifications for the Democratic Party, which currently holds the same number of seats in the state Senate as Republicans. Democrats have a slight advantage though because Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman gets to break a tie vote.

U.S. Rep. John B. Larson sent out a statement applauding Kennedy’s service.

“The Connecticut General Assembly and the people of Connecticut will be losing a great legislator after this year,” Larson said. “Senator Kennedy has been a steadfast advocate for his constituents and Connecticut. I applaud his decision of focusing on fighting for people with disabilities and thank him for his service to our state,”