A prominent Greenville County legislator says he will need to step down from his position in the South Carolina House to take a new job at an Upstate college.
State Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Belton, announced his plans in a letter to the House Speaker’s Office. In an interview with South Carolina Radio Network, he said he has just landed a new job as director of government affairs for his alma mater Greenville Technical College.
“That role will occupy a substantial amount of my time and effort,” he said. “And I just felt like the best course forward for the district and the state and my constituents was for me to step aside, allow somebody different to assume the role.”
The letter indicated he will resign from office in January.
Bedingfield was first elected in 2006 and spent the past decade ensconced in the House’s more conservative wing. He has taken on a bigger leadership role the past few years, serving as the first chairman when the House Regulations Committee formed in 2016 and leading a study committee on opioid abuse this summer.
He has spent the past seven years as an advisor for former U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, but lost that job when Mulvaney resigned in February to become White House budget director.
Bedingfield said he submitted his resignation letter four months early so his district could hold a special election for his replacement. He hoped it would also allow the opioid study committee he chairs to complete its work before he leaves.
“One of the main reasons I wanted to still be able to serve until January was to finish that work over the fall and the winter and be able to submit a report in that first week of (next year’s) legislative session and finish what I started,” Bedingfield said. He had pushed for the study committee after his son died of an overdose last year.
Besides work on opioid-related legislation, Bedingfield said he was most proud his work helped increase the role of legislative oversight whenever state agencies propose new regulations. The House Regulations Committee now considers any new state regulations before they can take effect.