Connecticut Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. said yesterday that he will not seek reelection next year when his term expires.

In a statement from his home in Greenwich, the 63-year-old governor said his decision not to seek a second term was made with a mixture of elation and regret.

"Connecticut, in the largest and best sense of the word, will always be family," Weicker said. "But now is the time for a joyful parting of the ways."

Weicker has been involved in the political arena for more than 30 years.

He first came to national prominence as a Republican Senator during the Watergate hearings in the early 1970s. During the hearings Weicker was one of the first Republicans to speak out against former President Richard M. Nixon.

Weicker remained in the Senate until 1988, when he was defeated by Joseph P. Lieberman, a Democrat.

In 1990, Weicker became Connecticut's first independent governor since William T. Minor, a member of the Know Nothing Party, who was the chief executive from 1855 to 1857.

Weicker's term as governor has been one of the stormiest in recent history. After promising to raise taxes only in the direst of economic emergencies, he pushed through the state's first income tax after being inaugurated in 1991.

Taxpayer revolt was so great that at one point Weicker was burned in effigy on the Statehouse lawn in Hartford.

In 1992, Weicker was presented with the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for "taking a principled stand for unpopular positions."

Although Weicker did not outline his plans, there has been speculation that he may run for the U.S. Senate again, run for President, or start a national independent party.

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