CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Delegate Ray Hollen, R-Wirt, is leaving the state Legislature.
Hollen’s resignation letter, received Thursday, said he has a career opportunity with the Department of Defense. The resignation is effective Sunday.
“At any given time as we travel down life’s highway, we may be faced with different paths along the way,” Hollen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw. “For me, that time has come.”
Hollen, who is retired from the State Police, continued, “After serving the public for over 30 years, and enjoying my time working for the people of West Virginia, this change in direction was not an easy decision.”
The resignation comes right before an anticipated special session on changes to West Virginia’s education system.
It’s not the only change right before the session. House Education Chairman Danny Hamrick resigned that role — but not his seat in the Legislature — a couple of weeks ago.
State leaders have talked about timing that to coincide with regularly-scheduled interim meetings, which begin May 20, although it’s still unclear if that’s when the session will really resume.
If that’s the timing, naming a replacement for Hollen in time to participate would be a challenge. It’s possible the session would begin with 99 delegates in the House.
A committee from both Wood and Wirt counties is being formed to select candidates to replace Hollen. Of those, Gov. Jim Justice would select the person to serve.
Hollen was elected to the House of Delegates in 2016 and then re-elected in 2018.
This past legislative session, he was chairman of the House Pensions & Retirement Committee.
Last year, he was one of a team of delegates serving as managers for the impeachment process of the state Supreme Court.
Hollen is a former investigator with the Coast Guard and the State Police.
“Ray Hollen gave us years of conservative service to Wood and Wirt counties,” stated Wood County Republican Party Chairman Rob Cornelius.
“He is a just man and was the absolute alpha dog hunting down the former criminals on our Supreme Court during that House impeachment. We have been proud to have him carry Wood County’s Republican banner in Charleston and are sad to lose someone of his quality.”