CHARLESTON, W.Va. — House of Delegates member Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, said he was asked to resign from the chairmanship of the House Education Committee because of a consensual relationship he had with a female legislative intern, a relationship that violated House policy.
Hamrick announced the resignation earlier this week in a two-paragraph letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw. It indicated he still intends to serve in the Legislature. Hamrick released a statement to the media Wednesday expanding on his reason for stepping down at Hanshaw’s request.
Here is Hamrick’s full statement:
“I start this statement by saying I made a mistake and I take full responsibility for that mistake. Towards the end of the legislative session, I developed strong feelings for a member of the legislative staff and proceeded to spend a lot of time outside of the capitol with this person for a few weeks. Although in my personal view I equate this relationship to have been no more than a mutual high school crush.
I understand that rumors tend to proliferate within the Capitol and this incident is viewed as disrespectful to the House of Delegates as a body and to other West Virginians. Therefore, I voluntarily stepped away from my position as Chair of House Education at Speaker Hanshaw’s request. I have the utmost respect and admiration for him as Speaker and for the entire legislature and did not want to bring any further drama into the legislative process at a time when we need to be focused on what’s truly important, improving the everyday lives of all West Virginians.
As I stated, I take full responsibility for this incident and would ask that the media be respectful of the privacy and possible harm to other parties involved.”
House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, reiterated this position in a statement of his own.
“Delegates and staff are instructed during human resources training that they are not to have relations with employees under their direct supervision,” he said. “Additionally, staff interns are instructed during their orientation that they are not to have relationships with delegates. Sanctions for violating these policies include termination of an individual’s employment or punishment of members under applicable rules of the House.”
Hamrick’s initial statement said no policies were violated by the relationship. However, he issued a revised statement a short time later that did not include that contention.
Hamrick did not identify the woman, who served as an intern on the legislative staff. He said the two remain friends. Hamrick is married.
Hamrick started as education chairman this year. Lawmakers are gearing up for a special session later this year focusing on education issues. No replacement has been named.
(Correction: An earlier version of the story said Hamrick is not married. He is married.)