OLYMPIA — Sen. Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, announced Thursday that she will not run for reelection after this legislative session. 

After more than a decade in the Washington state Legislature, Becker, 71, plans on focusing more time on her geological hobby of “rock hounding.” She will also spend more time in Wyoming, where she and her husband own a home, according to a news release.

“I never planned to be a political person. I decided to serve because I truly thought I could make a difference. I have often told my constituents, I can’t always promise to vote the way that you would like, but I do promise to listen,” she said in prepared remarks. “This has been the most challenging job that I’ve ever had, and the most humbling.”

The third-generation Washingtonian grew up on a farm in Enumclaw, and later worked in the medical field as an administrator. Chair of the Senate Republican Caucus, she currently serves on the Health & Long Term Care Committee, where she has pushed for the expansion of telemedicine, citing the fact that her rural district has limited access to health care.

Becker is the second caucus chair to announce retirement this session, after Rep. Eric Pettigrew, D-Renton, reported that he would be leaving the Legislature and taking a job with the National Hockey League. 

Thursday’s announcement means an open seat in the mostly rural 2nd District, which represents some of Pierce and Thurston counties.