Rep. Jon Hardister, R-Guilford, announced Thursday that he will resign his position in the North Carolina House, telling Carolina Journal that he would not rule out a return to public service at some point in the future, but for now he will be working in the private sector.

Serving his sixth term in the General Assembly, Hardister submitted his resignation to the NC House Principal Clerk on Thursday. He was first elected to represent NC House District 59 in Guilford County in 2012.

“There comes a time when a public servant knows it is time to start a new chapter. After serving six terms in the NC House, the time for me to start a new chapter has arrived,” Hardister stated. “I will forever be grateful for the privilege of serving in this office. Reflecting back, I am proud of what we have accomplished in the NC House. During my time in office, I was able to play a role in lowering our tax burden, paying off billions of dollars in debt, creating a budget surplus, and helping to make North Carolina the best state for business.”

Hardister’s resignation is effective Monday, April 8, at 5pm. Guilford County Republican Party is empowered under state law to appoint a replacement to complete the remainder of Hardister’s term, which runs through December 31, 2024.

“Tens of thousands of new jobs have come to our state as a result of the pro-economic policies that we have enacted,” he said. “All of this was done while investing in the core services of government, including education and public safety. I am proud of this record, and I am leaving office with a sense that I did my job and left the state better than it was before.”

Hardister came up short in the March primary for NC Labor Commissioner, finishing second of four primary candidates. Even with the endorsement of current Labor Commissioner Josh Dobson, Hardister earned 28% of the vote compared to the Republican nominee Luke Farley’s 37%.

Hardister served most recently as the Majority Whip in the NC House, working closely with members and Majority Leader John Bell to drive the Republican’s policy agenda. General Assembly leadership weighed in on the announcement Thursday.

“Jon Hardister has been a conservative champion in the General Assembly for over a decade and he leaves behind a record of lower taxes, limited government, and conservative values,” said Rep. Destin Hall, R-Caldwell, the current House Rules chairman and presumptive future House Speaker. “Our caucus will miss Jon’s leadership, but we thank him for his dedicated service to our state.”

Hardister was among the House members to encourage Labor Commissioner Dobson to reject two recent petitions filed by left-leaning groups to reinstitute mask mandates and other distancing requirements for North Carolina businesses.

“If there’s one thing we learned during COVID, it’s that government intrusion has negative consequences on the private industry,” Hardister said at the time.

“Throughout his tenure in the NC House of Representatives, Jon Hardister has demonstrated remarkable dedication to upholding the values that define our nation,” said House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland. “His unwavering commitment to public service and his steadfast advocacy for conservative principles have left an indelible mark on North Carolina and his constituents. Jon Hardister’s leadership has been characterized by integrity, foresight, and a genuine concern for the well-being of his constituents. I am honored to have served with him and thankful for his dedicated service to North Carolina and his constituents.”