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Once a high-ranking Democrat, Vallee opts against 11th term in House

Representative James E. Vallee said he wanted to return to his law practice and duties as a National Guard officer.

Representative James E. Vallee, a Franklin Democrat and a formerly high-ranking member of House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo’s leadership team, announced Wednesday that he will not seek an eleventh term in the Legislature.

Vallee, 45, said that he had gathered all of the signatures necessary to run for reelection in November but finally decided to return to private life, his law practice, and his duties as a lieutenant colonel in the US Army National Guard.

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“Eighteen years, I think that’s a good run; I’m pretty comfortable with that,’’ Vallee said Wednesday afternoon. “I feel like now’s a good time to transition back to a regular, taxpaying private citizen.’’

Vallee was named House majority leader in 2009 after helping DeLeo secure the votes necessary to become speaker following the resignation of former speaker Salvatore F. DiMasi.

After two years in the post, however, Vallee was demoted in 2011 to chairman of the Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs.

At the time, DeLeo said only that he moved Vallee as part of a rearrangement of his leadership team to place members where they were best suited.

Despite the apparent falling-out with DeLeo, Vallee said he harbors no hard feelings toward the speaker and still believes he is the right person to lead the House.

“I think it’s in good hands,’’ Vallee said. “The speaker has great relationships with the members, has been approachable, and is a great listener. I have a very close, personal friendship with Bob. I think he was and is the right person at the time to lead the institution.’’

Over the course of his career, Vallee served in various leadership and committee roles. His first chairmanship was of the former Criminal Justice Committee, where he said he worked to toughen drunken-driving laws and help write some of the first sex offender laws in Massachusetts.

He was chairman of that committee during the clergy sexual abuse scandal in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, a position he said allowed him to work with victims of clergy abuse and understand their issues.

Looking back, he also said he was proud to have taken part in the debate over legalizing gay marriage and working on stricter ethics laws and an overhaul of the transportation bureaucracy.

“It’s been certainly a very dynamic 18 years,’’ he said. “. . . I’ve been rank and file and back, and I do feel that I leave having done mostly what I wanted to do in the Legislature.’’

There are two more House vacancies, seats left by William N. Brownsberger, Democrat of Belmont, and Vincent Pedone, a Worcester Democrat.

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