The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 27, 2007

Thompson calls it quits

CHARLESTON — Only a month after insisting he was “working my way back” to the Legislature after a hiatus to treat severe depression, long-absent Delegate Ron Thompson abruptly ended his career in the House of Delegates, saying his medical care was taking longer than he anticipated.

In a brief letter, the Beckley Democrat tendered his resignation, ending a year filled with controversy over his protracted absence.

“I do hereby tender my resignation from the West Virginia House of Delegates, effective immediately,” he wrote to Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, no relation.

Soon after the House leadership moved last winter to vacate his seat, Thompson’s treating physician, Dr. Ahmed Faheem, a Beckley psychiatrist, emerged with a revelation the veteran lawmaker was under his care for bi-polar two, or severe depression.

Thompson then granted an exclusive interview with The Register-Herald and copies were distributed the next day to all members of the House, held in a months-long mystery that began a year ago and deepened with each passing interims session he skipped.

“I deeply appreciate the kind words and concern expressed by many during this time in my life,” the 40-year-old lawmaker wrote the speaker in a three-paragraph epistle.

“While my condition continues to improve, my full recovery time is taking longer than originally anticipated. Therefore, I feel that is in the best interest of the constituents which I serve that I take such action.

“I wish you and everyone involved in the legislative process the best.”

At one point, under heavy media scrutiny, the speaker had enough with the missing lawmaker and decided it was time to act.

Thompson issued an ultimatum to the missing delegate — appear by Jan. 25, or 15 days after the mass swearing-in ritual, or provide a reasonable excuse why he couldn’t make it. Failing to get a response, the speaker decided it was time to act.

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