Assemblyman Parker Space (R-Wantage) will not seek re-election to the legislature in 2023, creating the first retirement after the approval of the new legislative map last month.
The 53-year-old Space is one of the most conservative members of the New Jersey legislature.
He won a special election convention in 2013 to replace Gary Chiusano, who was elected Sussex County Surrogate. He has won five full terms in the heavily-Republican 24th district by wide margins. He spent nearly three years as a Sussex County Freeholder.
“This past year has brought profound changes to my personal life. My father passed away and my sister, Lori, retired from our family business, Space Farms Zoo and Museum. These events have placed more responsibilities upon me as we look to continue operating our family business into the next generation,” Space said. “After a deep reflection, I feel my complete attention will ultimately be needed running our family’s business.
Space has been controversial from time to time. He has a confederate flag tattoo on his arm and has used the confederate flag image in social media posts.
During his 2017 re-election campaign, a recording surfaced of his calling his Democratic opponent, Kate Matteson, an “elitist one percenter, an elitist who’s a bitch”
Space said he would complete his current term in the Assembly, which expires in January 2024.
“It is my pleasure to serve with so many of my colleagues in the State Legislature and I am particularly grateful for my service alongside and friendship with my district mates, Senator Steve Oroho and Assemblyman Hal Wirths,” he said. “I also am very proud of the employees of my district office staff. Together we help so many people and their importance to our residents was never more felt than during the pandemic.”
He said he especially enjoyed serving on the Assembly Agriculture and Labor Committees, saying he takes balancing the agendas of employers and employees seriously.
He also paid tribute to his wife, Jill, and his three children.
“We all look forward to the birth of my first grandchild in the upcoming weeks and the next chapter in our family’s lives,” Space said.