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Minority leader, Rep. Jennifer Seelig, D-Salt Lake, stands in front of her office door in Salt Lake City, Feb. 2013.

SALT LAKE CITY — House Minority Leader Jen Seelig, D-Salt Lake City, the first woman to hold the minority party's top leadership spot in the House, announced Thursday she won't seek re-election.

Seelig said she wants time to write her dissertation for a doctorate in political science at the University of Utah about the ability of community-based organizations to empower women.

"I took on this role in part to show women of all backgrounds that political involvement is vital to support our communities," she said. "Women need not only to be engaged, but to lead, and every single one of us has that power within."

Seelig served alongside House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, also the first woman in that role. Lockhart, seen as a potential candidate for governor in 2016, announced some time ago she was not running again for the Legislature.

"I think that's pretty remarkable," Seelig said, adding it is "unfortunate" it took until 2013 for two women to hold those posts. "I aspire to a time when it is not unusual, when it is just par for the course."

Seelig's term representing District 23 does not end until the beginning of January. She was first elected in 2006.

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