After 13 years in the South Carolina Legislature, Democratic state Rep. Harold Mitchell said Friday that he is resigning from the House District 31 seat.
Mitchell said after consideration and a year of not listening to his doctors, he decided it was time to step down. On Thursday, Mitchell said high blood pressure, arthritis — combined with the stresses of the job — had taken their toll. He had been granted a leave of absence from the Legislature on April 10.
He said he plans to make a formal announcement about his resignation at 3 p.m. today in the Spartanburg County Council Chambers.
“I have been pushing the envelop as far as I can push it, and I have decided to listen to the doctors and the warnings they have given me,” Mitchell said. “I remember Rep. Joe Neal had told me that I needed to slow down, and he was proud of me for going to the (Medical University of South Carolina) to check on my health.”
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Neal died on Feb. 14 and had been serving in the Legislature since 1992. Mitchell said he had a talk with Neal about his own health one month before Neal died.
Health issues aside, Mitchell also said he felt it was time to leave the Legislature because of his frustration with trying to get things done.
Spartanburg County's Rifle Drill Team practices for their upcoming trip to Washington as part of National Police Week. The team will complete in a drill and ceremony competition with other departments from across the U.S.
“The pressure from special interest groups manipulating state lawmakers from doing the work they were elected to do is frustrating, such as trying to fix the roads, improving health care and properly funding education,” he said.
Though he is leaving the Legislature, Mitchell said he will not stop being active in the community. He plans on continuing to work with ReGenesis Community Development Corp., an organization he founded in 1998. He also plans to finish redevelopment efforts on the south side and other areas of Spartanburg County.
“This is my passion, because this is where I see changes occur rather than being stagnated with not being able to accomplish anything in the House of Representatives in this current atmosphere,” he said.