An Aiken County Republican who has served in the South Carolina House as a back-bencher for the past four years will not seek reelection this fall.
State Rep. Don Wells announced his decision in a press release Tuesday. He told South Carolina Radio Network he has been offered a new construction job that will not allow him to continue serving part-time in the legislature.
“I actually had hoped that some position may come along that would allow me the opportunity to provide for my family as well as stay in the Statehouse and serve,” he said. “Unfortunately, that did not present itself. But looking at the additional benefits of that is going to be the ability to have more time with my family.”
Wells will serve out the rest of his term this year before taking the new job. He previously owned a paint store in Aiken but had to close two years ago, saying business never recovered from the 2008 recession.
He served on the Aiken City Council for six years before running for the open House District 81 seat in 2012. During his time in the House, Wells has focused much of his attention on the House Education and Public Works Committee where he serves. He sponsored a bill that passed the House last year requiring CPR to be taught in high school health classes. The measure remains in a Senate committee. He sponsored a bill in 2013 dealing with notary public qualifications that also passed the House but never cleared the Senate.
The 56-year-old Wells said he would have liked to continue serving, but believes now may be a good time to step aside anyway as his four sons start to reach high school age. “This is a season in my life that I really look forward to being there for my boys and spending more time with my wife, as well.”
He did not rule out a return to public office in the future.