U.S. Rep. James Saxton (R., Mount Holly), who worked tirelessly to save local military bases from federal budget cuts, said today that he has decided not to run for re-election in 2008 because of his health.

"Although I had intended to run in 2008 and was planning a strong campaign, developments which occurred earlier this year regarding my health have prompted me to make this decision," said a statement today from Saxton, a former public school teacher, business owner, state senator and state assemblyman who has never lost an election.

"I plan to serve out the remainder of my current term in the 110th Congress," he said. "I will continue to receive medical treatment, and my health care providers have indicated the prognosis is, in fact, very positive."

Saxton, who will be 66 when the current term ends, has been treated for prostate cancer. He is also being treated for chronic sciatica, a painful back and leg condition.

"I want to publicly thank the residents of Burlington, Ocean and Camden County who sent me to Washington in 1984, and who have given me the privilege of representing them for 24 years," his statement said. "I have always done my best to serve the diverse Third District.

"When making tough decisions, I have honestly weighed the pros and cons at hand, and when possible, compromised and worked with Republicans and Democrats for the greater good. When faced with uphill battles, I have never given up, but instead countered diversity with hard work. I have few regrets, but many fond memories."

Saxton was first elected to public office in 1975 as a state assemblyman.

"For the remainder of my public career, I plan to continue to push for ocean research, land preservation and protections for our fishermen," he said.

"I will also continue to work to create the coming Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and bring research funding to Lockheed Martin, the largest employer in South Jersey."