By Ryan Quinn/Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail
Delegate Danny Hamrick resigned Tuesday from his position as House Education Committee chairman at the request of the speaker of the House of Delegates.
“I asked for his resignation earlier this week for a personnel matter that has nothing to do with the upcoming session,” said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay. The special legislative session on education is expected to begin later this month.
“That’s about as far as I should say,” Hanshaw said.
The House speaker would’ve still had the power to remove Hamrick, R-Harrison, from the position had he refused to step down.
“I am writing this letter to notify you that I will be stepping down from the position of Chair of House Education effective immediately,” Hamrick wrote in a letter to Hanshaw, dated Tuesday.
“I very much appreciate that you provided me the opportunity to serve in this capacity, and I look forward to continuing to serve under your strong leadership in this 84th Legislature,” Hamrick wrote.
He didn’t return requests for comment Tuesday.
House spokesman Jared Hunt wrote in an email that “the Speaker will name new leadership for the Education Committee in the coming days.”
Hamrick only became House Education chairman before this year’s regular legislative session, which featured the controversial, sweeping omnibus education bill.
That bill would have increased public education funding, but also would have done many other things, including weakening school union organizing and legalizing charter schools and vouchers for public school alternatives. During the session, it sparked the state’s second statewide public school workers strike in two years.
Hamrick replaced as chairman Delegate Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson, who became majority whip this year.
The Senate Education Committee chairwoman, Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, was also new to her chair position during this year’s regular session. She continues in that position.