By LAWRENCE MESSINA
Sources tell The Associated Press that House Speaker Richard Thompson is leaving the Legislature to join Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s Cabinet.
Three government officials say Tomblin will name Thompson the new secretary of Veterans Assistance on Thursday. They refused to be identified because they were not authorized to comment ahead of the announcement.
Thompson has led the House since 2007. The 60-year-old Democrat was re-elected to a fourth term as speaker in January. He served in the U.S. Army in the 1970s.
Thompson would succeed a retiring Keith Gwinn. Gwinn is a Navy veteran and the department’s first secretary since it was elevated to the Cabinet in 2011.
Once Thompson resigns, Tomblin must call a House session within 10 days to fill the vacancy. Democrats hold a slim majority.