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I think we all should be very proud of John Fernandes.

He knew when to leave, and to leave for the right reasons.

Too many politicians and professional athletes stay far too long for their own good, leaving only when their electoral base is gone or their talent has faded.

A decade ago, Fernandes promised us he wouldn't stay on forever as our state representative. Five terms, he said, if we wanted him. In this current term, he was made chairman of the House Judiciary Committee –a powerful position that would tempt any person to stay on. And he almost did, taking out nomination papers for November's election.

But, Fernandes has always had a strong personal life, and the demands of being state representative nagged at him. At the beginning of this term, we had a conversation about that. Fernandes confessed that – with the demands of constituent service – he and his wife only had one or two weekends to themselves over the prior year, and it was bothering him.

Accepting the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee just increased the demands on his personal time. And so, when his mother-in-law, Elizabeth DiMola, passed away on March 31, Fernandes told me that the demands of the State House on top of his law practice didn't give him the time he wanted to properly grieve her passing. "That's just wrong," he told me.

And so, he decided not to run for re-election and just be John Fernandes, local attorney, husband and father.

For all the right reasons.

Which tells me that John Fernandes is really the man I thought he was – one with the right priorities.

We have him as state representative for a few months more before his term ends, which gives us all time to let him know how we feel about his decision.

With Fernandes' decision, people interested in replacing him have about six months to pull together a campaign and talk to the voters in Milford, Hopedale, Mendon and part of Medway. With Milford being the largest town in the district, the state rep usually comes from it.

Newly re-elected Selectman Brian Murray jumped into the race as a Democrat just hours after Fernandes' announcement. The local Republican committee is telling all to stand by for a Republican candidate to emerge soon. Already, the name of Mike Walsh of the School Committee and Milford Youth Commission is being floated as a possible candidate.

As they say at the start of the Olympics, "Let the games begin!"

Speaking of Brian Murray, I'd like to correct something I wrote in the column before this one. I wrote that Murray called Nelly's Sandwich Shop a "bar room" on a local radio debate. I was wrong.

He did admit to using the term to characterize places where he claimed fellow Selectmen Bill Buckley and Will Kingkade were seen meeting together. He did not use the term to describe Nelly's .


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