Metro Councilman Tom Owen announced Wednesday that he won’t be seeking re-election next year, ending a run of more than two decades representing the Highlands on Louisville’s legislative body.

Owen, a Democrat representing District 8, said he’s been mulling over possibly retiring for some time, but he decided to announce ahead of a filing deadline so anyone interested in running for the open seat on the council can prepare.

“It is something that I needed to do well in advance of the election year, because there will be talented younger people that need to mount a campaign, line up their friends before the filing date,” Owen said.

Owen, an archivist for the University of Louisville and local historian, said the Highlands has a history of providing energetic and progressive leadership in Louisville. He said he’s confident that will continue.

“I know there are qualified, able and capable progressive leaders that will step up and fill the post,” he said.

Owen was first elected to represent the Highlands area on the old City of Louisville Board of Aldermen in 1990. In 2012, he was among the first group of Metro Council members elected after city-county merger.

Owen noted that his departure isn’t imminent. He has 13 months left in the seat.

“I am going to be fully engaged in the council role for 13 months,” Owen said. “I will not be moving toward the periphery gracefully.”

The filing deadline to run for the seat is in January. So far, only one candidate, Democrat William Corey Nett, has filed to run in District 8.