Injured state lawmaker resigns legislative seat

jbrammer@herald-leader.comOctober 27, 2011 

FRANKFORT — State Rep. Dewayne Bunch, a Williamsburg Republican who was critically injured in April while breaking up a fight at Whitley County High School, where he was a teacher, has resigned from the state legislature.

The announcement came in a news release Wednesday afternoon from House Republican leadership.

"His family has decided that it is best for not only him, but his constituents as well, if he resigns his seat in the Kentucky General Assembly," Republican leaders said in the statement. "While we will miss serving with Dewayne, we understand this decision and what is best for his recovery."

Gov. Steve Beshear will have to decide when to call a special election to find another representative for the 82nd District, which covers Whitley County and part of Laurel County. The governor has made no decision, spokeswoman Kerri Richardson said.

"Rep. Bunch was a fine addition to the state legislature in the time he served," Beshear said. "We are saddened that his health required him to resign his office, but we wish him the best as he continues his recovery."

The 2012 General Assembly is scheduled to begin Jan. 3, and an issue expected to be addressed early in the session is the redrawing of legislative district boundaries. Bunch, 49, was elected to the state House last year, beating longtime legislator Charles Siler.

Bunch was critically injured April 12 while rushing to stop a fight between two students as breakfast was being served at Whitley County High School, where he had taught math and science for 17 years. He suffered a brain injury.

The two boys were charged with one count of first-degree assault and two counts of third-degree assault. They are being held at a juvenile detention center in Eastern Kentucky. Bunch is recuperating at a location his family has not disclosed.

House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, said in a statement that "thoughts and prayers from every member of the General Assembly remain with Dewayne and his family."

"We respect his decision and wish him nothing but the best," Stumbo said.

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