SALEM — John Keenan was sitting at the breakfast table the other day when he told his 12-year-old daughter he was not running for re-election, after serving as Salem’s state representative for the past 10 years.
“Do you have another job yet, Dad?” his daughter asked.
Keenan laughed when he told the story yesterday because he said his future plans are “not definite.” All that is certain, he said, is that he has decided not to run for higher office and will step down at the end of his current term in January 2015.
“Quite frankly, all the stuff we wanted to get done is completed,” he said during an interview yesterday.
The final order of business was the Salem power plant, which he said appears on solid footing now that Footprint Power, the New Jersey developer that runs the current plant and has proposed building a natural gas facility, reached a settlement last week with Conservation Law Foundation, an environmental group that filed legal challenges against the $800 million project.
“I am thrilled that this project finally has a path to success now that a settlement has been reached,” Keenan said. “The looming question about what would happen to this site has been in the back of my mind since I served as city solicitor, and really one of the driving forces in wanting to run for office and get involved. I hope that the citizens of Salem are as happy as I am that for the first time in over half a century, this site is on track to be cleaned, repowered, redeveloped and open for public enjoyment.”
Keenan tried to put to bed rumors that he will take a job with Footprint Power.
“That is absolutely untrue,” he said. “I have to believe the ethics of it bars me for life and, if it doesn’t, then it should.”