Del. Hollen resigning Sunday to work for Department of Defense

PARKERSBURG — A member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from the 9th District in Wood and Wirt counties is resigning effective Sunday.

Republican Delegate Ray Hollen of Elizabeth, in a letter to House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, said he has a career opportunity with the Department of Defense.

“At any given time as we travel down life’s highway, we may be faced with different paths along the away,” Hollen said in the letter. “For me, that time has come.”

A message to Hollen for comment was not immediately returned.

Hollen said the job with the Defense Department will not allow him to remain in the House of Delegates. The resignation is effective on Sunday.

Hollen, 54, retired from the West Virginia State Police. Hollen was a manager during the impeachment of justices of the state Supreme Court.

He was first elected to the House in 2016 and re-elected in 2018. Hollen was chairman of the Pensions and Retirement Committee, vice chairman of the Select Committee on Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse, and served on the Health and Human Resources, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security committees.

“I want to take this time to convey to you, that I enjoyed serving with you and under your direction,” the letter dated May 2 and received on Thursday at the speaker’s office said. “I want to thank you for giving me the opportunities to serve within your leadership and trusting me to do the right thing.”

Hollen exemplified conservative thinking, according to Rob Cornelius, chairman of the Wood County Republican Executive Committee.

“Ray Hollen gave us years of conservative service for Wood and Wirt Counties,” Cornelius said. “He is a just man and was the absolute alpha dog hunting down the former felons on our Supreme Court during that House impeachment process. We have been proud to have him carry Wood County’s Republican banner in Charleston and are sad to lose someone of his quality from the body. Ray’s leadership will be missed.”

The state code requires the successor be from the party of the delegate who resigned and to be chosen by the governor from three nominations from a political party committee.

Cornelius said a delegate vacancy committee of four people, a man and a woman from both counties, would nominate three qualified Republicans who live in the delegate district to the governor. The members of the vacancy committee are in place for Wood County, but not in Wirt, according to the secretary of state’s office.

Nominees shall be submitted to the governor within 15 days after the vacancy occurs and the governor shall fill the vacancy within five days after the list is received, the state code said. If the list is not submitted to the governor within the 15-day period, the governor shall appoint within five days a legally qualified person of the same political party of the delegate who resigned, the code said.