A 38-year-old Republican legislator widely viewed as a rising star in New Jersey politics will not seek re-election to a third term in the State Assembly this year in order to spend more time with his family.
Ryan Peters, a Navy SEAL and former Burlington County freeholder, said today that he will leave the legislature at the end of his current term because he would rather coach teams for his three young children than pursue a political career.
“My duty as a father, husband, coach, Naval officer and volunteer are serious commitments that have begun to consume more and more time and energy in addition to my full-time job. These commitments and my duty to my family requires me to shift where and how I should spend the limited hours we have each day. That is why I have made the decision not to seek reelection this year,” Peters said. “It’s a bittersweet decision since I really enjoy serving the outstanding people of the 8th District and the great people of my home state of New Jersey.
As the youngest Republican in the legislature, Peters was seen as someone who could move up the ladder and possibly emerge as a future statewide contender. Instead, he’s decided that he doesn’t want family events to pursue a political career at this time.
Also looming large for Peters is that he is the commander of an active U.S. Navy Reserve unit.
Peters was notified in May 2020 that his Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) team was to be deployed in November. That deployment was cancelled, but Peters could still be called up for the final time in 2021.
“While I come to the end of a higher profile level of service, I will always endeavor to serve this great country and all of my neighbors,” he said.
The two-term legislator said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve in the public office.
“I owe my family, our friends, supporters and even my detractors, a debt of gratitude that I don’t think I will ever be able to repay Their sacrifices are too numerous to count,” stated Peters. “Each morning, I wake with amazement at the things I have been able to experience thanks to the opportunities this great country has provided me.”
The Annapolis graduate had been seen as a likely challenger to his former running mate, State Sen. Dawn Addiego (R-Evesham), this year. Addiego switched parties in 2019 and is seeking re-election as a Democrat.
Peters had also been considered as a possible challenger to Rep. Andy Kim (D-Moorestown) in 2022. While he has not precluded running for office again someday, he has no plans to run next year.
The Hainesport resident earned a law degree from Rutgers and won a seat on the Burlington County Board of Freeholders in 2015. He moved up to the State Assembly in 2017 and was re-elected in 2019 by a 1,011-vote margin after Democrats spent millions trying to capture the 8th district seats.
Peters is the first announced legislative retirement this year.