There appears to be mounting pressure for State Representative Stephen LaRoque to resign in light of his federal indictment Tuesday.
Calls for the Republican lawmaker to step down are coming from Raleigh and from his hometown of Kinston.
House Speaker Thom Tillis said he’s advised LaRoque to resign from the chamber.
Tillis said Wednesday he’s told his fellow Republican it would be a wise decision if he stepped down from his legislative seat.
Kinston Mayor B.J. Murphy, who is also a Republican and lives in LaRoque’s house district, says he agrees with Tillis. “I believe in due process and innocence until proven guilty, however it appears to be in the best interest of the 10th House district to be removed from the shadow of this indictment,” said Murphy.
A grand jury indicted LaRoque this week on charges he took hundreds of thousands of dollars loaned to his company through a federal program and gave it to another company he owned for transactions that helped family members.
Tillis told The Associated Press his advice isn’t based on whether he believes LaRoque is guilty or innocent but in protecting the institution of the House.
LaRoque declined to comment on Tillis’ statement.
LaRoque, who represents parts of Lenoir, Greene and Wayne counties, lost his re-election bid in the Republican primary in May. This past session he was chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.