CHARLESTON, W.Va.— The Speaker of the state House of Delegates says he is looking forward to a new challenge.
“I think it’s the best thing for me to do at this point in my career,” House Speaker Rick Thompson said Thursday of his plans to resign from the House on June 15th to become Secretary of the state Department of Veterans Assistance.
“I appreciate this opportunity from the Governor to let me continue to serve the people of West Virginia and our veterans,” he said.
Thompson is a Democrat who was first elected to the House in 1980 and returned as a delegate from Wayne County in 2000. He has served as Speaker for the past seven years.
He will draw on his service in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox from 1972 to 1974 when he replaces current Secretary of Veterans Assistance Keith Gwinn who is planning to retire.
“I’ve always been an advocate for veterans,” Thompson said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.” “I’m a hard worker. I’ll work night and day to get things done for our veterans. I’m really looking forward to it.”
The surprise announcement from Thompson this week has set off a scramble for the critical leadership position in the House.
The possible replacements include House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White, Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley and Delegate Doug Skaff.
Governor Tomblin will have 10 days following Thompson’s resignation on June 15th to call a Special Session so the House can elect a new Speaker.