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Sen. Pipkin resigning to pursue master’s degree

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who led debate against tax increases and new gun control measures this year as the Republican leader in the Maryland Senate, will resign from elected office on Aug. 12, he said Monday.

Sen. E.J. Pipkin

Sen. E.J. Pipkin, R-Upper Shore (File photo)

Pipkin, who represents the Upper Shore including Caroline, Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s counties, first announced his resignation on WBAL Radio and later confirmed it in a statement sent by his office.

A senator since 2003 and minority leader since 2011, Pipkin said in the statement that he planned to move to Texas with his family and pursue a master’s degree in sport management from Southern Methodist University. He could not immediately be reached for further comment.

“One’s responsibilities to family and oneself often change the direction of life,” the statement said. “I chose to resign now, rather than serve out my term … in order to give the Republican who fills the 36th District Senate seat the advantage of serving the people until he or she runs for re-election.”

In a separate statement, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Calvert and Prince George’s, said Pipkin delivered his resignation letter Monday.

“Senator Pipkin had a strong work ethic, was knowledgeable on the issues and served his constituents well,” Miller said. “We in the Senate truly appreciate his years of service to the people of Maryland and wish him nothing but success in the future.”

Before being elected for the first time in 2003, Pipkin worked in finance. Business advocates viewed him as a friendly vote in Annapolis, where the minority leader earned a lifetime 86 percent rating from Maryland Business for Responsive Government, which releases an annual report card on how lawmakers’ votes impacted business.

As minority leader, Pipkin was often responsible for leading debate on contentious issues in the Senate, where Republicans are outnumbered 35 to 12.

He spoke passionately this year against a number of Democratic priorities, including subsidizing the development of an offshore wind farm, stricter gun control laws, repeal of the death penalty and increasing Maryland’s tax on gasoline.

Pipkin’s resignation ensures the Senate and House of Delegates will both have new Republican leaders during the 2014 General Assembly. Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, R-Calvert and St. Mary’s, was ousted as the House minority leader following this year’s session.

The senator’s resignation also adds to what already was expected to be a significant changing of the guard among Senate Republicans. Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, R-Howard and Carroll, plans to run for Howard County Executive in 2014. Sen. Barry Glassman, R-Harford, will run for Harford County Executive instead of seeking re-election in the Senate.

Sen. Nancy Jacobs, R-Cecil and Harford, a member of the Senate since 1999, plans to retire when her term expires next year.