By The Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam is retiring.

Maryland State Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (Courtesy Photo/

The Baltimore County Democrat made the announcement Sunday in a letter to Senate leadership.

The 80-year-old lawmaker is citing health issues. She notes in her letter that she has had three surgeries on her spine in recent years.

She is the vice chair of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

Nathan-Pulliam was first elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1994. She was elected to the Senate in 2014.

Nathan-Pulliam was born in Jamaica and became a U.S. citizen. She is the first Caribbean-born person elected to the Maryland General Assembly.