BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts state senator who played a key role in the revitalization of the South Boston waterfront and was seen by some as the next Senate president is stepping down to enter private law practice.

South Boston Democrat Jack Hart says he will formally announce his resignation Tuesday.

The 51-year-old Hart says he is taking a job with the Nelson Mullins law firm’s Boston office because it’s in the best interests of his family. He will concentrate on corporate law and government relations.

Hart was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1996 and elected to the Senate in 2002. He says his time in public service has been “the thrill of a lifetime.”

He is also host of the annual South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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