Del. Luiz Simmons (D-Montgomery) has announced his candidacy for state Senate. (Handout/LUIZ SIMMONS)

Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons formally announced Wednesday that he will seek the Maryland Senate seat currently held by Jennie M. Forehand, a fellow Montgomery County Democrat and one of the legislature’s longest-serving members.

In a letter to constituents, Simmons, a veteran House member who had been mulling a Senate bid in District 17 for months, declared: “I’m in.”

“I haven’t pandered to the political establishment or settled for the status quo because that is not you elected me to do,” Simmons said. “I was elected to represent you, your family and your neighbors.”

Forehand said Wednesday that she remains undecided about whether to seek re-election next year and probably won’t make an announcement for several more weeks.

Forehand served in the House of Delegates between 1978 and 1994 and has been a member of the Senate since 1995.

In an interview over the summer, Forehand sounded more certain about running again and said Simmons was “going absolutely apoplectic about wanting to be in the Senate.”

On Wednesday, when asked about Simmons, she said: “It’s his option to do whatever he wants to do.” Forehand also encouraged reporters to look closely at Simmons’s voting record as a member of the House Judiciary Committee but declined to elaborate.

“I’ll leave it at that for now,” she said.

Former delegate Cheryl Kagan, who narrowly lost to Forehand in a 2010 Democratic primary challenge, has also been weighing another Senate run.

“I’ve been flattered by the number of calls I’ve gotten from Democratic party leaders, legislators from around the state and advocacy organizations encouraging me to run,” Kagan said Wednesday.

In a letter posted on her Web site, she said she would announce her plans shortly.

As he announced his bid Wednesday, Simmons also said he had the endorsement of Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.).