BOUNTIFUL -- State Sen. Dan Liljenquist, R-Bountiful, has resigned from his post in the Legislature.
Liljenquist submitted a resignation letter to the Senate's leadership late Thursday afternoon, effective immediately, said Ric Cantrell, the Senate's chief deputy.
Liljenquist said in his resignation letter, "Life is short. It's time to move on."
"The people of South Davis County are among the greatest on earth," he said. "I love them for their understanding of the appropriate role of government, for the volunteer service they give, the strength of their families and for their support of sound fiscal policy."
Liljenquist, who was contacted by the Standard-Examiner, declined to provide details about his resignation but said he will make a decision about future plans for public office early next year.
Liljenquist decided to resign before the start of the 2012 Legislative Session on Jan. 23 so Davis County GOP delegates can nominate his successor.
"I want to make sure a suitable replacement is made before the legislative session," he said in a brief phone interview Thursday night.
Liljenquist's replacement will be appointed by Gov. Gary Herbert.
State Senate President Michael G. Waddoups, R-Salt Lake City, said Liljenquist will be missed.
"He has great skills sets," Waddoups said Thursday night. "He impressed people with his ability to bring people together. He represented people in Davis County very well."
State Senate Majority Leader Scott K. Jenkins, R-Plain City, said he spoke Tuesday with Liljenquist, who indicated he is strongly considering running against Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in 2012.
"I'm assuming if he is resigning he intends to do that," Jenkins said Thursday night. "That's the ugly side of politics -- that good people run against each other."
Jenkins described Liljenquist as an outstanding legislator who led the charge in the 2009 legislative session to reform the state's pension plan.
"It's really hard to dig down to the core (of some legislative issues)," said Jenkins. "He's one of the cogs in the wheel that makes our state great."
Liljenquist, an attorney and businessman, was elected to the state Senate in 2008.
Earlier this year, Liljenquist was named one of the "Best and Brightest in State Government" by Governing Magazine for his work on pension and state Medicare funding reform.
In 2008, Liljenquist narrowly escaped death while on a humanitarian mission in Guatemala, where he was involved in a plane crash that killed 11 of 14 people aboard.
Standard-Examiner reporter Loretta Park contributed to this story.