Rep. Brian Brown, a Greenville Republican, resigned his House seat Tuesday, effective immediately. Brown, who was serving his second term in the House, will become the eastern regional representative for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, starting Oct. 15.
The representatives are Tillis’ “eyes and ears across the state” to ensure good communication with constituents, Tillis spokewoman Meghan Burris wrote in an email. In the eastern part of the state, which includes 28 counties, Brown will focus on military, veterans, agriculture and coastal issues.
Brown’s salary wasn’t immediately available, Burris said. “A native of Pitt County, Brian has a deep knowledge of the region and recognizes the issues and areas for growth within eastern North Carolina,” Tillis said in a statement. “As I welcome Brian to our team, please do not hesitate to reach out to him or any of my staff across the state.”
Brown wrote in his resignation letter to House Speaker Tim Moore on Tuesday that he had “mixed emotions” about his departure. He said his local party chairwoman is aware of his resignation, so she can begin the process of selecting a replacement. When a legislator resigns mid-session, leaders of their local party organization nominate a successor, who’s then formally appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory to finish the term.
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“I am grateful for the opportunity to have served the people of my home district and the greater state of North Carolina,” Brown wrote. “I wish you and every member of the General Assembly continued success.”
Brown, a restaurant owner, made a few headlines earlier this year for a testy exchange he had with Sen. Jerry Tillman over Tillman’s “biscuit bill” that allows convenience stores to set up tables and chairs.
Brown worried the change would allow stores to be more like restaurants without facing the same regulations, and he accused Tillman of being “disrespectful” toward his concerns.
N.C. Republican Party Chairman Hasan Harnett praised Brown’s service in a news release. “In his work as chairman of the House Health Committee and Committee on University Education ... Rep. Brown had a direct role in making North Carolina a stronger and better place to live, work and raise a family,” Harnett said.
Colin Campbell contributed to this report