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In an email to supporters, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has ended speculation about his entry regarding the Tennessee Governor’s race.  He’s out, and here’s the statement:

 To friends:

It was a tremendous personal honor and a great privilege to have had the opportunity represent all Tennesseans for 12 years in the U.S. Senate.

In 1994 I pledged to serve no more than two terms and then, consistent with a philosophy of the “citizen legislator,” return home to resume private life. And with my retirement from the U.S. Senate in early 2007, that is exactly what I have done. I’m now back in Tennessee with my family, fully engaged in the private sector, teaching and active in the civic and business communities.

This week, I begin teaching at Vanderbilt’s Owen School of Management and at the Medical School. I return to the Vanderbilt faculty after a 15-year hiatus. In late January, I will announce a major nonpartisan statewide education reform initiative that will focus at a grassroots level on improving K-12 education across Tennessee. I will continue as a partner in Cressey and Company, an investment firm focusing specifically on growing quality health service companies across America. And finally I will continue to chair and expand the global reach of the Nashville-based charitable foundation Hope Through Healing Hands (hopethroughhealinghands.org), an established nonprofit organization that centers on health and education around the world. I love these challenges. My passions lie in each of these areas.

For some time, I’ve been carefully considering running for governor of Tennessee in 2010. My life in medicine and government has centered on serving others and I have talked recently with many Tennesseans about the inspiring challenges we face and how I might be of help as governor.

After careful consideration with Karyn, the boys, and friends, I’ve concluded that it is not practical or realistic to pursue my current passions and interests and also devote the necessary time and resources to run a statewide political race. I have therefore decided not to run for governor in 2010 and rather continue serve others through focused involvement in the private sector. I will continue to serve the people of Tennessee, most immediately in the field of K-12 education and in improving access to quality health care.

Several friends, whom I respect tremendously and who I know are highly qualified, have expressed interest in running for governor of Tennessee and have graciously waited for a public expression of my intentions. With my plans clarified today, I encourage them to pursue these opportunities. I know that the people of Tennessee will identify a great leader to serve as Governor and I will standby to help in any way.

Service comes in many shapes and forms – doctors, public officials, civic leaders, teachers. For me and for our family now, we shall devote our commitment to service off the public stage.

To all of the many people who have supported our efforts over the years, we have a lot to do right now to continue to make our communities safer, healthier, and more prosperous places. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work together!

Bill Frist, M.D.