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Ailing Ambrose to Retire From D.C. Council

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By Eric M. Weiss
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 23, 2005

D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose said yesterday that she will not seek reelection, citing her need to devote more time to family and her battle with multiple sclerosis.

"I am not running because it is difficult to deal with a complicated disease and a complicated job," Ambrose said in a telephone interview. "I don't flatter myself thinking that the city will fall apart without my presence."

Ambrose (D), whose doctors diagnosed her multiple sclerosis six years ago, represents Ward 6. It covers Capitol Hill and parts of downtown, Northeast and Southeast, including the waterfront area where the new Washington Nationals stadium is slated to be built.

As chairman of the council's Committee on Economic Development, Ambrose is a central player in the city's major development projects. She said that during her remaining year on the council, she will focus on the baseball stadium and on development at the old Washington Convention Center site downtown.

Ambrose and her committee also are involved in the creation of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and efforts to redevelop the Skyland shopping center in Southeast.

"She chairs a key committee, Economic Development," said council member Vincent C. Gray (D-Ward 7). "Her experience will be missed."

Gray said her retirement was long expected. "I don't think it's a shock to anyone," he said.

Ambrose said she still has enough energy and determination to continue her work.

"I'm close friends with enough members of the council that I think I can still have my oar in the water," she said.

Ambrose won a 1997 special election to replace Harold Brazil (D), who gave up the Ward 6 seat after winning an at-large spot on the council.

Ambrose campaigned on the experience she gained during nearly 20 years of working for former council members Betty Ann Kane and John Ray. She also touted her community service in Capitol Hill, where she has lived for 30 years.

She was reelected in 1998 and 2002.

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