Home News Newly-elected West Virginia politician resigns after joining Capitol riot

Newly-elected West Virginia politician resigns after joining Capitol riot

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Charles Boothe

Bluefield Daily Telegraph, W.Va.

Delegate Derrick Evans, (R- Wayne County), has announced his resignation from the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately.

Evans, who was ready to serve his first term, is facing federal charges of entering a restricted public building and violent entry and disorderly conduct. He was arrested Friday on those charges.

Jared Hunt, Communications Director for the House, made the announcement and included a statement from Evans.

“The past few days have certainly been a difficult time for my family, colleagues and myself, so I feel it’s best at this point to resign my seat in the House and focus on my personal situation and those I love,” Evans said.

“I take full responsibility for my actions, and deeply regret any hurt, pain or embarrassment I may have caused my family, friends, constituents and fellow West Virginians. I hope this action I take today can remove any cloud of distraction from the state Legislature, so my colleagues can get to work in earnest building a brighter future for our state. And more importantly, I hope it helps to begin the healing process, so we can all move forward and come together as ‘One Nation, Under God.'”

Evans was part of a mob that went through police barriers and broke into the Capitol Building Wednesday. He temporarily posted a video of the action on Facebook then took it down, but it had already circulated and received widespread attention.

Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw said it’s now time to move forward.

“In announcing his resignation, Delegate Evans said he accepted responsibility for his actions and apologized to those he’s hurt. In this time of overheated, hyperbolic political rage, I think that’s a good first step for us all to take right now,” he said.

“America didn’t get to this point overnight; what happened this week was the culmination of a toxic political culture that’s been building for years. I believe this is a moment for political leaders — on both sides of the aisle — to re-examine ourselves, take a hard look at how we’ve contributed to this culture, and vow to do and be better to achieve Abraham Lincoln’s dream of ‘malice toward none, charity for all’ to once again achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves.

After Evans’ actions, lawmakers responded quickly, including Gov, Jim Justice.

“I think it’s terrible,” Justice said Friday of Evans’ behavior. “I think it’s a scar on West Virginia.”

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Del. Doug Skaff Jr. (D- Kanawha County), speaking on behalf of the Minority Caucus, wrote a letter to Hanshaw saying Evans should not be a member of the House.

Skaff said the House has the authority to take the action because each member must take an oath to uphold the constitutions of West Virginia and the United States.

“Delegate-elect Evans committed several illegal acts, clearly memorialized through his own Facebook broadcast, in an attempt to disrupt the constitutionally mandates process,” Skaff wrote, adding that Evans “conspired, abetted and, if only temporarily, succeeded in physically attacking and impeding this constitutional process as part of an insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol. HIs actions unequivocally disqualify him from holding a public office in this state and make him ineligible to be seated as a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates.”

After the Wednesday riot, Evans posted that he had no ill intent.

“I want to assure you all that I did not have any negative interactions with law enforcement nor did I participate in any destruction that may have occurred,” he posted.

However, he has listed to media organization he works for and, according to various news reports, was heard shouting, “Stand on our feet! We’re in, baby!” as a crowd was pushing its way into the Capitol Building.

According to State Code, any vacancy in the office of state senator or member of the House of Delegates “shall be filled by appointment by the Governor, from a list of three legally qualified persons submitted by the party executive committee of the same political party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred. The list of qualified persons to fill the vacancy shall be submitted to the Governor within 15 days after the vacancy occurs and the Governor shall duly make his or her appointment to fill the vacancy from the list of legally qualified persons within five days after the list is received. If the list is not submitted to the Governor within the 15-day period, the Governor shall appoint within five days thereafter a legally qualified person of the same political party with which the person holding the office immediately preceding the vacancy was affiliated at the time the vacancy occurred.”

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