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Conn. union leader Olsen not seeking re-election

WETHERSFIELD, Conn. (AP) -- John W. Olsen, the longtime president of Connecticut's largest labor organization, announced Tuesday he will not seek reelection.

The AFL-CIO president told his executive board he will not be a candidate for president when the union federation holds its biennial convention in September. Olsen, a plumber by trade, was first elected president in 1988 at the age of 38. He's the longest serving president of the federation, which serves 200,000 union workers statewide.

"I have had the privilege of serving as president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO for 25 years, but now I am looking forward to shifting gears and to pursuing other interests," Olsen said in a written statement. "I will continue to devote my heart and my energy to improving the lives of working families."

A Greenwich native who now lives in Clinton, Olsen has played an active role in local, state and national politics. He is a former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party, and was a member of the Democratic State Central Committee from 1982 to 1995. He has been a Democratic National Committee member since 1996.

He has also served on numerous state boards and commissions, appointed by governors dating back to former Gov. William A. O'Neil. He currently serves on the board of directors to the state economic development organization Connecticut Innovations Inc. and the Connecticut Employment and Training Commission. He was also appointed to groups that studied the 1987 L'Ambiance Plaza collapse in Bridgeport, which left 28 construction workers dead, and the 2010 Kleen Energy plant explosion in Middletown, blamed for the deaths of six workers.

Olsen was the former president and business manager of the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Steamfitters, Local 133, and a former secretary-treasurer of the Connecticut State Building and Construction Trades Council.

His successor will be elected by delegates to the next Connecticut AFL-CIO convention, to be held Sept. 25-27.