Under the Dome

Sen. Tom Apodaca steps down early, might become a lobbyist

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca resigned his seat on Friday.
Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca resigned his seat on Friday. hlynch@newsobserver.com

Senate Rules Chairman Tom Apodaca resigned his Senate seat Friday, a few months before his term officially ends.

Apodaca, a Hendersonville Republican, has said he’s considering taking a job as a lobbyist. Resigning early means he can start the clock on a six-month “cooling off period” required for lawmakers who become lobbyists. The legislature won’t return to Raleigh until January.

Apodaca is one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers, and he announced last year he wouldn’t seek another term.

“It has been the honor of my lifetime to represent and serve the people of Western North Carolina in the state Senate,” Apodaca said in a news release Friday. “It was a privilege to serve in such a special institution and I am grateful for the many friendships formed with constituents and colleagues on both sides of the aisle.”

The news release didn’t mention what Apodaca plans to do next. He told the Insider State Government News Service last month that he’s considering a return to the General Assembly as a lobbyist.

“I’m leaning that way, to be honest, but I’m not certain,” he said at the time. “I’ve had some other offers, too. We’re going to weigh them when I get out of here.”

Apodaca told the Insider that if he decided to become a lobbyist, he’d resign around mid-July.