GOP State Senator Wampler announces retirement

Noting that he was first elected in 1987 and had spent the past 24 years logging close to half a million miles driving back and forth to Richmond, William Wampler, Jr. (R-40th Senate District), 51, announced in an interview this morning that he will not seek re-election.

Wampler, who represents the Southwestern Virginia cities of Bristol and Norton along with Lee, Scott, and Washington counties and part of Grayson, Smyth, and Wise, is the senior ranking Republican in the Senate.

His press release added details:

“Today I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the Senate of Virginia. It has been a high honor to represent the citizens of Southwest Virginia for 24 years. Six terms is a long time. There have been many trips to Richmond and many nights away from home. There is a time for everything.

“I appreciate the good people of Southwest Virginia for giving me the chance to work for them in Richmond. I know I have tried to give it my best effort. Also, I wish to thank all of my colleagues, past and present, for the courtesies shown to me as we worked together in trying to make Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family. I still believe that the best days are ahead of us. To all who have encouraged me, counseled me, and took time to offer their thoughts, I say thank you.

“To those who will return to Richmond and those who will succeed me, you have my encouragement and support.

“I look forward to continuing to offer help to our region as appropriate. So, I am retiring from public life and looking forward to resuming more of a private life of living and working here in the great Southwest.”

In his television interview with WCYB, he talked about his accomplishments during his time in the senate and his desire to work with the citizens of tornado-ravaged Glade Spring to rebuild their community. Wampler, who was 27 years old when first elected to the senate, stressed that he felt honored to have represented the citizens of Southwest Virginia and said it had been a great run.

Update: Governor Bob McDonnell issued a statement about Sen. Wampler’s retirement:

“For more than 20 years, William Wampler has represented the people of Southwest Virginia with character and conviction.

“Bristol is over 300 miles from Richmond, and Lee County residents are closer to seven other state capitols than Richmond. But when William was on the Senate floor, or in committee, the issues of concern to his Senate District were always front and center at the State Capitol.

“His commitment to his constituents gave the residents of the 40th District a strong and clear voice in state government, and that voice was respected, well-regarded and incredibly effective. And, William was not just a voice for Southwest Virginia. Through his service on the Budget Conference Committee, William consistently advocated for the best interests of the entire Commonwealth.

“During this past legislative session, he was one of the chief patrons of our historic transportation funding plan. His work in ensuring the success of that legislation will benefit commuters from Fairfax to Virginia Beach. We will miss William’s leadership in Richmond. His public service has left Virginia a better place than he found it. I wish William and his family the very best moving forward, and I know that he will continue to be involved and engaged in the life of our Commonwealth.”

Cross-posted at SWAC Girl