FRANKLIN, La. (KLFY) — St. Mary Parish Sheriff Blaise Smith has announced he will not seek re-election to the post due to unspecified health problems.

“This decision was not an easy one, but necessary for me to focus on my current health issues,” Smith said in a Facebook post Tuesday.

Smith was first elected sheriff when he won a special election to fulfill the term of Sheriff Mark Hebert, who retired in 2018. Smith was then re-elected to a full term in 2019.

Smith was hospitalized in March for nearly a month with an undetermined illness, but was expected at that time to make a full recovery. It is not known if his current health issues are related to that.

“Moving forward, I know the department is in excellent and capable hands,” Smith said. “Should I be absent for any health-related issues, Chief Gary Driskell has and will continue to run all day-to-day activities for the department.”

Smith retired from St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office in December 1994 at the rank of Chief Inspector. He served in Chitimacha Tribal Police Department, as its Chief of Police. Smith also held a Federal Commission through the Department of Interior for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.