CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A Republican House member in West Virginia is resigning to take a position at American Electric Power.
Delegate Erikka Storch of Wheeling said in a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw that her resignation would be effective on May 19, news outlets reported.
“After a great deal of thought, prayer and discussion with my family, I have decided to pursue and accept a private-sector opportunity that will not allow me to continue service in the Legislature,” Storch wrote.
Storch accepted the position of external affairs manager at Appalachian Electric Power, where she will help with community relations and economic development programs, as well as serve as a legislative and media liaison.
She was first elected in 2010 and has served as the deputy majority whip and as chair of the House Pension and Retirements and Interstate Cooperation committees.
“It has been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Ohio County over the past 13 years,” Storch wrote. “I am grateful for the people who sent me to serve for them for the trust they placed in me.”
Storch notably was one of only two Republicans in the GOP House supermajority to vote with Democrats against a bill last year that would have restricted how public school teachers can discuss race in the classroom. The bill, which passed the House but later died in the Senate, was introduced following a push by conservative lawmakers across the U.S. to prevent or limit the teaching of critical race theory, a way of thinking about America’s history through the lens of racism that educators say is not taught in West Virginia public schools.
Storch also voted with Hanshaw against the majority on a law signed by Republican Gov. Jim Justice this year that allows people with concealed carry permits to take firearms onto public college and university campuses.
She voted with the supermajority to pass a near-total abortion ban in September.
The Ohio County GOP executive committee will now be tasked with creating a list of three potential successors for Storch’s seat in the state Legislature to send to Justice, who will appoint someone to fulfill the remainder of her term.
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