Update - Cindy Forster will not seek political office for next few years

A long time Niagara politician is calling it quits.

Cindy Forster, the NDP MPP from the riding of Welland, has announced she will not seek re-election in 2018.

In a release Forster says  “Over the last seven years, it has been an absolute honour to serve as the voice for the riding of Welland at Queen’s Park. With the support of my constituents, my staff and our riding teams, I have worked to create a healthier and a more just Ontario – not just in the Niagara Centre region, but across the province."

 Forster adds "I have made the decision that the time is right for me to hand the reins to someone who will continue the work for Niagara Centre residents with the kind of commitment and passion the people of this region deserve. I have family circumstances that require my attention, and so I will not seek re-election in 2018."

Speaking to CKTB this afternoon Forster says her husband has been suffering from bad health and she needs to take time off and make her family the number one priority. 

When asked if she will ever make a return to politics,  Forster said "never say never" but admitted there are no plans in the next couple of years to pursue political office. 

She does hope to see certain issues through like the financial audit of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and the provincial ombudsman's investigation into the Region's actions of confiscating a local reporter's laptop and notes. 

The Welland MPP served as the Rose City's mayor from 2000 until 2003, later moving on to sit on regional council.

She was first elected to Queen's Park in 2011.

In a separate release, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath says "Forster's voice – as both a skillful legislator and passionate community advocate – will be sorely missed at Queen’s Park. From affordable housing, to pay equity, to fighting for better labour protections for all workers, Cindy's efforts to make life better for Ontario workers and families will go on, thanks to the solid foundation she's laid.