Longtime Hampden County Sheriff Michael Ashe Jr. says he won't seek re-election in 2016. Ashe first took office in 1974 and ran unopposed in every subsequent election. Ashe said in a statement that although he is still blessed with good health and plenty of energy he simply believes it is time for someone else to oversee the county's jails. He said he decided to make his announcement now to give candidates time to organize a campaign and learn about the job. He says he has no specific successor in mind. During the Democrat's tenure, the county built a new jail in Ludlow and a women's detention facility in Chicopee. He stressed rehabilitation and education, and preparing inmates for a successful return to society.