ORANGE —Following months of speculation, Robert Sousa, former first selectman, has made his decision public. In an exclusive interview with The Bulletin, Sousa, Sunday evening, said he will not be going head to head with either Themis Klarides (R - 114th) or Winthrop Smith (R - 14) come November.

ORANGE —Following months of speculation, Robert Sousa, former first selectman, has made his decision public. In an exclusive interview with The Bulletin, Sousa, Sunday evening, said he will not be going head to head with either Themis Klarides (R - 114th) or Winthrop Smith (R - 14) come November.

Citing a need to be a father and husband to his wife and four children age five to eleven, Sousa admitted the decision had been a hard one.

"My family took a poll on whether I should seek political office. The vote was unanimous, I lost"

Sousa said that the past four years have been unfair to his wife Denise and their children. He said he needs to stick to one job for the time being, earn a living and take care of his children's education.

"My family depends on the income from my law practice. Until the time comes when I can spend a lot less time with my work, I will concentrate on supporting my family," Sousa said.

Democratic Town Committee chairman Joseph Lembo said he was sorry with Sousa's decision and reflected on the high caliber of his character.

"Bob has a way with people. He brought a lot to the office of first selectman and would have been a great asset in the public sector. However, I respect his decision," Lembo said.

Selectwoman Patricia (Trish) Pearson, who ran against Klarides two years ago and is rumored to be considering another run was also sorry to hear that Sousa was not running for public office.

"I am disappointed that Bob has chosen not to seek state office. He would have challenged Smith (Sen. Winthrop Smith) on his actions and inaction's and forced issues to the table so voters could make an informed decision in November," Pearson said.

She also went on to speculate on his future.

"I am sure we have not seen the last of Bob in the political arena. Now is just not the time and place," Pearson said.

State Democratic Chairman Ed Marcus also added his disappointment.

"It's a hard decision. He has an outstanding future in the Democratic party, he is young and experienced," Marcus said.

The former first selectman said it was only last week that he informed President Pro Tempore Kevin Sullivan and Majority leader George Jepsen that he would not seek a seat in Hartford. He admitted that there were good reasons for him to run either for the state representative or state senate.

Sousa said he was well aware of the number of issues he could have run on against Senator Smith. He mentioned his stand on sheriff reform, gun control, healthcare and campaign finance reform as examples. He said that Smith does not listen to his constituents.

"Smith spends more time listening to the special interest groups who support him than he does serving his constituents," Sousa said.

He also took a swing at Themis Klarides who serves as state representative in Sousa's district.

"Klarides won her seat on a fraud. Two years ago she accused her running mate and myself of the computer hoax," Sousa said referring to the pornographic web sites linked to the Klarides name.

"Whoever runs against her and the media need to hold her accountable and ask her where the proof is that one of us caused the problem," Sousa said.

Sousa said he has loved being a public servant and the pleasure it gives him to help others.