Cape and Islands State Representative Tim Madden announced last Thursday in a press release that he will not seek re-election in November.
Mr. Madden said that the announcement was made “with mixed emotions,” but that he is instead electing to spend more time at his home in Nantucket with his family and pets.
“It has been a privilege and an honor to serve as representative for the Cape and Islands over the past several years,” Mr. Madden said. “I truly believe it is the most special district in the commonwealth. Not only is it beautiful, but it has some of the most bright, caring, and conscientious constituents one could hope to represent.”
He thanked the people in his district for the “support, friendship, and kindness” he experienced during his tenure at the Massachusetts State House.
In a phone conversation with The Times Wednesday, Mr. Madden said he had a smile on his face. “I’m so love what I’ve been doing and what I’ll continue to do in the next several months,” he said.
Mr. Madden emphasized that his commute — frequent trips to Hyannis, Falmouth, the Vineyard, and Boston — was a weekly challenge for him. Trips to the Vineyard alone often cost him six hours of travel, he said.
“When you live on an island, you know what it’s like. And I live on a really far-away island,” Mr. Madden said. He added that he’s “looking forward to spending so many more evenings and nights” in his own home.
The initial decision to run for office in 2008, he said, was what he described as a natural progression from spending 10 years as Nantucket’s legislative liaison and working directly with his predecessor, longtime state representative Eric Turkington.
“I find the job very rewarding,” Mr. Madden said. “The politics side is very rewarding, insofar as working with your colleagues and trying to make your case, so to speak. And getting the Islands the recognition — I think sometimes people forget about them out here, they forget the year-round populations and some of the struggles that entails.”
Given the chance to advise his successor, he said he would emphasize presence. “Make sure that you’re willing to make the commitment to really cover the district and be in Boston as well,” he said.
Taking a moment to reflect on the initiatives he championed to benefit his district, he said he couldn’t pick just a few. He did, however, highlight the reinvigoration of the John T. Hughes Hatchery and Research Station, the Ocean Act, and the Martha’s Vineyard vanity license plates, the purchase of which benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services (MVCS) and other Island nonprofits.
“Some of the small victories have been ones that have meant a lot to me,” Mr. Madden said.
As for what’s next, Mr. Madden said he is unsure, but he will explore business opportunities in the service industry.
“My focus from now until the end of the year will be fulfilling my term,” Mr. Madden said. “At that point, I will look to see what business opportunities are available. I’ve owned a guesthouse and restaurants in the past. I’m not sure if I will go back to that industry or not.”
Asked if he planned to run for any other elected office, he laughed.
“I never say never,” he said. “But at this time, I don’t. But I never say never.”
First islander in 40 years
Mr. Madden was the first island resident to be elected to the state legislature since Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket lost their seats in redistricting almost 40 years ago.
The district encompasses Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, the Elizabeth Islands, and four Falmouth precincts that include the village of Woods Hole. Mr. Madden was first elected in 2008 following the retirement of longtime Rep. Eric Turkington, a Democrat from Falmouth who occupied the seat for 20 years.
In December, Oak Bluffs resident and planning board member Ewell Hopkins announced that he will run as a Democrat for the seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives currently occupied by Mr. Madden.
The state primary is Sept. 8, 2016. The general election is Nov. 8.