Rhode Island state Sen. James Sheehan (D-North Kingstown), who was first elected in 2000, does not plan to seek re-election this year.

Sheehan pointed to the length of his tenure, a desire to spend more time with his children, and increased hyper-partisanship in national politics as factors in his decision.

“I feel like I’ve accomplished many of my goals,” Sheehan told The Public’s Radio.

Sheehan is a teacher in Warwick.

He becomes at least the third member of the RI Senate to say he's not seeking re-election.

Judiciary Chairwoman Erin Lynch Prata of Warwick, who hopes to become a state Supreme Court justice, has said this is her last term in the Senate. And as first reported by The Public's Radio, Sen. Adam Satchell (D-West Warwick) is not seeking re-election.

Sheehan emerged as an opponent of a controversial container port proposal as part of his winning race for the Senate in 2000. The North Kingston Democrat said he introduced the issue to Don Carcieri, who also opposed the proposal and went to win the first of two terms as governor in 2002.

Sheehan pointed to his support for restoring Ethics Commission oversight of state lawmakers, working with the late Sen. Michael Lenihan on separation of powers, and backing an effort to boost oversight of quasi-public agencies.

The North Kingstown Democrat said it’s a good time for him to leave the General Assembly since his step-son is poised to graduate from high school, his son is headed to junior high and his daughter will be going to first grade.

He said politics has gotten less pleasant since some of the sharp partisanship of national politics has seeped into state politics.

Sheehan said he expects that as many as five candidates may run for the seat he is vacating, but he declined to name any of the potential hopefuls.

Rhode Island GOP Chairwoman Sue Cienki tells The Public's Radio that former state Rep. Doreen Costa will run for the seat being vacated by Sheehan. Costa declined comment when contacted Thursday.

"The Dems are jumping ship because they realize the financial problems will hit the fan next year and [they] have no solution," Cienki said.

Former North Kingstown Town Councilor Ellen Waxman is among those exploring a run.

"Senator Sheehan’s announcement to not seek re-election has prompted my decision," Waxman said in a statement.

She added: "Serving four years on the North Kingstown Town Council has prepared me for this next step. Having had an inside view of government, I know that now more than ever we need leaders who will advocate for the ideals I stand for: open, fair, accountable government. Even in these unprecedented times it is possible to overcome challenges, as long as government remains transparent and elected officials hear from their constituents prior to making important decisions. The right leadership will help us find our way to economic recovery.

"I am currently an Independent but if I decide to run, I would affiliate with the Democratic Party. Please private message me if you would support my candidacy and be willing to help with my campaign."

This story has been updated.

Ian Donnis covers politics for The Public’s Radio. He can be reached at idonnis (at) ripr (dot) org.