Politics & Government

Impeachment-seeking NC House member resigns

The Republican state House member who wants to impeach the Democratic secretary of state over notary certifications announced Friday he is resigning.

Rep. Chris Millis of Hampstead said in the announcement on his website that he will resign effective Sept. 15. He is in his third term.

In the statement, Millis said now is the proper time to step away for himself and his family.

“Together we fought for the rule of law and against the self-serving machinations of political schemers in our government. Together we have made so much progress,” he wrote. “While this fight must continue for the benefit of the citizens of this great state, for me and my family we must put a bookmark on this chapter of public office – a bookmark that could be revisited at the proper time in accordance to God’s will and direction.”

Republican Rep. Chris Millis . N&O file photo

“My resignation is solely based on my need to be with my family more often and has nothing to do with any other assumptions that individuals may want to manufacture,” Millis wrote.

Millis was driving the effort to impeach Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, who is serving her sixth term.

Millis claimed Marshall improperly commissioned unauthorized noncitizens as notaries public. He contended that constitutes conferring an improper public benefit. Marshall denied any wrongdoing, saying her office followed federal guidelines.

In June, a House committee approved a resolution to form an investigative panel to determine whether she broke any laws. The resolution stalled, and it hasn’t made it to a vote of the full House. House Speaker Tim Moore said then that Republican members wanted a “deliberate process,” and to have a prosecutor look at the information.

The legislature is still able to consider impeachment when it returns to work next month.

On Twitter, state House Republicans and the state GOP thanked Millis for his dedication.

In a statement, Moore called Millis one of “brightest and hardest-working” House members.

"I can't say enough about Chris' dedication to North Carolina taxpayers, his commitment to effective reform and the countless initiatives he undertook to benefit his constituents and citizens statewide,” Moore said.

Wayne Goodwin, chairman of the state Democratic Party, said in a statement that Millis belittled public servants for the sake of partisan politics.

“Representative Millis has attacked, belittled, and dragged through the mud hardworking public servants, including Secretary of State Elaine Marshall, for no reason other than partisan politics,” Goodwin said. “He’s pushed far-right policies that have made our state less safe, and we look forward to competing for his seat and bringing fresh representation to Pender and Columbus counties.”

Millis is in a district that is majority Republican, one that would be difficult for a Democrat to win. More than 60 percent of voters in the re-drawn House district voted for Republican President Donald Trump over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Lynn Bonner: 919-829-4821, @Lynn_Bonner