Rep. DeBolt steps down as state House Republican leader

He experienced a health scare, but plans to finish out his two-year term



OLYMPIA (AP) — Minority Leader Richard DeBolt announced Wednesday he is stepping down as House Republican leader because of recent unspecified health problems.

DeBolt, of Chehalis, told colleagues on the House floor that he is handing off the position but will serve out his two-year term.

“I’m not leaving,” DeBolt said. “I’m just changing roles for a while.”

Last week, he missed several days at the Legislature and was hospitalized after he collapsed at his home.

“Two years ago, I had some severe health challenges, and now I’m going to face some new challenges,” DeBolt told fellow lawmakers. “I know I’m going to be fine, but it’s time for me to step aside as leader of the House Republican caucus.”

DeBolt left the Capitol after his announcement and made no further comments.

DeBolt, 47, suffered from potassium imbalances two years ago and has had some kidney problems that he’s been taking medication for, said Republican Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda.

Kretz has been named acting minority leader until the caucus reorganizes its leadership. Kretz said that DeBolt was awaiting some tests that should be back by the end of the week, and the hope is that he’ll be able to continue to come back to the Capitol on a part-time basis through the remainder of the legislative session, which is scheduled to end April 28.

DeBolt represents the 20th Legislative District, which dips into parts of north Clark County, including the outskirts of La Center. He was first elected in 1996.