Carl Lewis announces N.J. state Senate bid

In this May 2, 2010 file photo, Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis speaks during ceremonies at his induction into the N.J. Hall of Fame, in Newark, N.J. Lewis is planning to run for New Jersey Senate. A state Democratic Party official says Lewis will announce his candidacy on Monday, April 11, 2011.
Former Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, right, is seen with supporters, including his mother, Evelyn Lewis, bottom left, as he announces his political candidacy for a New Jersey state Senate seat in the 8th Legislative District, April 11, 2011, in Mount Holly, N.J.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Updated: 4:01p.m. ET

Carl Lewis, nine-time Olympic gold medalist, announced on Monday that he will run for a seat in New Jersey's state Senate.

Citing a desire to "change the political discourse in New Jersey" and beyond, Lewis said he would seek to unseat Republican Dawn Addiego in the state's 8th district, which leans Republican.

"It's time to change the political discourse in New Jersey and around the country," Lewis said in a statement, according to the Hill. "The people are fed up with their elected officials playing the blame game and treating their political counterparts as enemies."

"When I run -- you can see my record -- I run to win," Lewis told reporters outside of the Mount Holly courthouse where he made the announcement, according to Reuters.

"My focus will be on children, on the future," he added. "We cannot rest until we make sure that our families can afford to live and raise their kids here, that our seniors can remain in their homes and afford their health and pharmaceutical costs."

Assemblyman Herb Conaway (D-Burlington) confirmed to the Philadelphia Inquirer last week that state Democrats had been working to persuade Lewis to pursue a Senate bid.

Lewis's Olympic career spanned from 1984 to 1996, during which period he won nine gold medals and one silver medal in sprinting and long-jump. In 2009, the retired athlete was nominated as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations.

"I'm proud of where I came from, proud to be back, and ready to step up to serve the taxpayers of this great state that afforded me so many wonderful opportunities," Lewis said in his announcement on Monday.