One of the South Carolina Statehouse’s most prominent Democrats says he will resign his seat to take a new federal job.
State Rep. Harry Ott (D-St. Matthews) has represented Calhoun County in the House for 15 years and was the leader of House Democrats in 2011 and 2012.
He said Wednesday that he will step down this weekend after accepting an offer to be the new state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency.
“I am resigning from the South Carolina House, effective June 30,” Ott announced from the House floor, holding back tears as he did so. “The very next day, I will accept the appointment from President Obama to be the FSA director for the state of South Carolina.”
AUDIO: Rep. Ott’s resignation speech
Ott, who is a farmer in his private life, said he has been in the running for the job since December.
“I’ve had a real fortunate opportunity to come up here and be a part of this group for 15 years,” he said. “I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be able to spend 15 years in this body.”
A special election for his seat (House District 93) will be held later this year.