One of the Maryland Senate's highest-ranking Democrats announced Thursday that he would resign at the end of summer.

Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola, D-Montgomery County, said he would be resigning from the Senate on Sept. 1.

"I want to spend more quality time with my children," said Garagiola, who has three children between 12 and 15. "It is time for me to be a father first for them and I realize as I watch them grow and become young adults that I won't be able to get this time back. I look forward to being extremely involved in their lives, which I have not been able to do while in public service."

Garagiola had previously said he did not plan to run for reelection when his current term ended in January 2015.

Garagiola served in the Senate since 2003. In the recent session he helped spearhead the gas tax increase to help replenish the near-bankrupt Transportation Trust Fund.

Last year, he ran for the redrawn Sixth Congressional District, but lost in the primary to businessman John Delaney.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George's and Calvert counties, said he would miss Garagiola.

"I am saddened by his decision to leave the Senate, but I respect and admire his tough, yet understandable decision to spend more time with his three children and I wish him nothing but the best in the future."