Delegate Barry Bruce Announces Resignation, Citing Health Concerns

District 42 Delegate Barry Bruce has submitted his resignation, effective Friday, December 3.

Bruce spoke before the Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee on Tuesday, November 30.

“It is with much regret that I, for personal health reasons, have to resign from my position,” announced Bruce. “Unfortunately I didn’t listen to my doctors three years ago and didn’t have my knee replaced. Now I basically don’t have a knee [and] that’s affecting my back. … I have to have, as soon as possible, a knee replacement and back surgery, because the stenosis has now proceeded up my spine. … Right now is just chaos trying to get into a hospital trying to get surgery – I wouldn’t be able to get my surgery scheduled until the first of the year.
… I cannot, in good faith, attempt to go to Charleston to represent you. I apologize for that.”

Delegate Barry Bruce (standing)

Bruce was elected in 2020, when both him and Delegate Todd Longanacre replaced Cindy Lavender-Bowe and former Democrat Jeff Campbell in the House of Delegates. As he spoke to the club, he reflected on his time in office.

“This has been a tremendous year in many ways, being in the legislature, seeing how things work and how they should work. … Last year was a fair year in legislation for this state. … There are still problems. When you have a supermajority, it doesn’t solve those problems. There’s still things to be done and progress to be made. I really cherish the time I’ve been there. It has been a real experience, practicing law, taking that and being on a judiciary committee.”

Bruce also thanked the Republican leadership and voters for their support.

“I wanted to make this announcement to you face to face, because I know how much you supported me. How much effort you gave towards me being elected. I don’t want you to think that was wasted. I want to give you the opportunity to select the replacement, to make sure you have full representation in Charleston beginning the beginning of the term. … God’s been very good to me. He’s blessed me in many ways, one of them was to have you elect me as your delegate to go to Charleston. I appreciate that, thank you. I hate to disappoint you in any way. It’s not pleasurable for me to stand up here and say this to you. You’ve got to find a replacement, support that replacement, support Todd, and other people that run. … I feel like I’m letting you down, but I would ask you keep me in your prayers because I’ve got some tough days ahead.”

According to Bruce’s resignation letter to Roger Hanshaw, Speaker of the House of Delegates, his resignation will be effective this Friday, December 3.

After Bruce spoke, Senator Jack Woodrum Republican Executive Committee Chair Ben Anderson looked to the next step – finding a suitable replacement.

“There are executive committees that fill this role,” began Woodrum. “In our case, it’s the [42nd Delegate District Executive Committee], which is made up of a man and a woman from three counties. That district covers Monroe, Greenbrier and part of Summers. There will be two people from each county. If they didn’t put their name on the ballot and weren’t elected, then they’ll be appointed to that position by the county executive committee.”

“Those positions are filled by six individuals,” Anderson noted. “The two from Greenbrier County are Jim Childers, and Sue Spicer, as elected in the 2018 election. The two from Monroe County were appointed after the 2018 election – that’s Dwayne and Nancy Miller. The two from Summers County were appointed two weeks ago – Rob Johnston, who’s here with us tonight, and … Kim Burns. … Both of them are from the Pence Springs, Talcott area.”

“From the effective date of the resignation, the Executive Committee has 15 days to submit three names to the governor,” Woodrum continued. “… If they don’t do that within that period of time, then the governor has five days to select somebody. … The people that are interested in that position will make an application through the state party in Charleston. … [Those interested had] to be a member of the Republican Party by the date of the last election, because they’re filling [Bruce’s] seat. … Once they’re vetted, … there’ll be a series of questions, put together by the state party, in consultation with … the chairman of that [local] committee. … The candidates will come in one at a time, they’ll be asked identical questions. … They’ll be scored by the committee at the end of that process, then the committee will vote as to who those three names will be. … All that has to happen within 15 days, and then [Governor Jim Justice], … has five days to make a selection from those three names. It’s always been my understanding, he didn’t necessarily have to select from one of those three names. … If he wanted to choose a fourth person, he could do that, but that’s traditionally not what happens.”

Who that candidate might be could also be influenced by redistricting after the 2020 Census.

“That brings up an important point,” Anderson noted. “Obviously, anybody can apply from anywhere, but it would be very silly for us to not have an incumbent going into next [year’s election cycle] that is actually able to run from that new district. It doesn’t make much sense to me. It wouldn’t make sense for this committee to bring somebody from the western end and put them on that list of three [as Delegate Longanacre is located in that new district].”

Even with the challenges of finding a replacement, Anderson thanked Bruce for everything he had done.

“We took Greenbrier County back for conservative values, and Barry led the ticket,” said Anderson. “We are so thankful for him. [He] has left an indelible mark upon our local party, and we’re very, very thankful for what all he means to us.”

Longanacre agreed.

“I am saddened by Delegate Barry Bruce’s announcement to resign from the WV House of Delegates. Delegate Bruce and I frequently conferred with one another on various pieces of Legislation last year and voted very similar on most bills. Like me, Barry is a constitutionally conservative Republican and I will miss his company in Charleston.”

Bruce’s resignation letter reads as follows:

“It has been an honor and privilege of a lifetime to serve the 42nd District of Greenbrier, Summers, and Monroe Counties since being elected as their delegate in November 2020. Serving as a member of the Republican Super Majority has been a blessing, and I am excited about the progress our state is making on the economic, social, and judicial fronts that were the hallmarks of my campaign.

“However, I am now facing health-related issues which will require surgical intervention(s) and a lengthy time of recovery, which will be during the upcoming 2022 legislative session. Thus, effective December 4, 2021, I resign my position as Delegate from the 42nd House District of West Virginia, to assure my constituents full representation for the coming legislative session. While I am saddened to leave office, I resign knowing my votes were made prayerfully and with the best interests of West Virginia and her people in mind. I am thankful that I heeded God’s call to run for office and serve a state and region that has given so much to me. I will continue to work behind the scenes for a better tomorrow for the Greenbrier Valley, and I will support whomever is appointed as my successor in any way possible.

“Thank you, Greenbrier, Summers, and Monroe Counties for allowing me to be your voice in ensuring that Mountaineers Are Always Free!”

[Image]
The Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee gave Bruce a standing ovation after the announcement.

Author’s Note – I wish Mr. Bruce the best and hope he has a quick and easy recovery process.

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