SOMERVILLE, TN (WMC) - It is a rarity for a freshman legislator to resign in mid-term but on December 1, 2015, State Representative Leigh Rosser Wilburn (R-Somerville) shocked the legislature and constituents when she submitted her letter of resignation, effective December 31.
After submitting her letter mid-term, it left it in the hands of the Fayette County Commission to choose a successor to complete her term until the next election November 2016. On Thursday, the commission announced their decision.
Jamie Jenkins (R- Somerville), former University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension Agent and former Fayette County Republican party chairman, was announced as Wilburn's successor to complete her term. He will complete the term as State Representative for District 94 in West Tennessee.
"I think the Fayette Commission had a difficult decision to make. I do not and did not envy their task," State Senator Dolores Gresham (R-Somerville) said. "I'm delighted Mr. Jenkins will be serving out the remainder of Mrs. Wilburn's term. I'm sure he will do an excellent job."
Even as a freshman, Wilburn made a mark in the legislature, and lawmakers said she will be missed.
"She's a rock star. She's practical, she's smart, but she's also very spiritual. I'm sorry to see her leave the legislature," Gresham said. "We will all miss her."
Jenkins said he is excited to serve the three counties, but does not plan on making it a career.
"I'm delighted the commission has that much confidence in me. I'm happy to be able to represent the three counties," Jenkins said. "I feel like I have a lot of connections in the three counties and a lot of connections in Nashville."
Jenkins said he already has plans for the November election.
"I have plans NOT to run," Jenkins said.
He said he agreed to complete Wilburn's term in office but said all along he would not seek election in November.
The legislative session begins Tuesday, January 12 at noon.