South Carolina Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Greenville, has announced his intention to resign from the House of Representatives.
On his personal Facebook page, Bedingfield said he will be stepping down from the District 28 seat on Jan. 18, 2018, to become director of governmental affairs at Greenville Technical College, his alma mater.
“Working in service to others has long been a part of my DNA,” Bedingfield said in a resignation letter addressed to House Speaker Jay Lucas. “From the age of 17, I have served my country, my state, and my county.”
Bedingfield, who served four years on Greenville County Council before his 2007 election to the House, began his new job this month but will use his remaining time in the legislature to combat the state’s opioid epidemic, according to the resignation letter.
More than 3,000 South Carolinians have died from opioid overdoses since 2011, according to the state Department of Health and Environmental Control. In 2015, Bedingfield’s 26-year-old son, Joshua, died of an overdose of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50 times stronger than heroin.
Bedingfield, who has sponsored multiple bills on drug abuse since then, currently chairs the House Opioid Abuse Prevention Study Committee, which was launched earlier this year to identify legislative solutions to help combat addiction. State lawmakers are expected to consider the committee’s recommendations next year.
“I know that the follow-up work that will come from our findings and discoveries will be in the very capable, dedicated hands of my fellow committee members and the House as a whole,” Bedingfield wrote in his resignation letter. “My individual advocacy and desire to save every human being from the dire impact of opioid substance abuse disorder will not wane because of the lack of a title.”