When House Speaker Shap Smith dropped the gavel on the 2014 legislative session last month, many were left wondering if he would pick it up again in January.

Smith was back at his desk in the Statehouse on Thursday, saying he hopes to stay there.

The six-term lawmaker from Morrisville left observers in doubt after the session, saying he was torn by family and professional obligations. He kept those observers guessing until Thursday - the final day to submit petitions to appear on the ballot.

"I love the job, it's a great job to have," he said. "The heart of the decision was whether to leave a job I love because of other considerations. In the end, having talked with my family and talked with work, I really thought the issues over the next two years are ones that I'm interested in and hope to be a part of solving."

Those issues include health care financing, education reform and economic development, Smith said.

Smith, 48, said the decision to run again largely hinged on having a support system in place for his wife, Melissa, and two young children.

He said he was encouraged by many people to run for re-election, including Gov. Peter Shumlin.

"I think it's great that Speaker Smith has decided to run for another term," Shumlin said in a statement.

Smith is an attorney with the Burlington firm Dinse, Knapp and McAndrew.