SALEM, N.H. — Saying "the time is right," New Hampshire House Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt, R-Salem, announced his resignation last night.
While New Hampshire Republicans praised him for his service, the state Democratic Party agreed with Bettencourt — the time is right for him to step down and not seek re-election.
Bettencourt, 28, issued a statement about 5 p.m. saying personal and professional commitments prevent him from continuing his eight-year legislative career.
"While it has been an honor to serve in the Legislature representing the citizens of Salem and Windham and to serve as majority leader, it is time for me to move on to the next exciting phase of my life," he said.
His final day, June 6, is also the last day of the legislative session, he said.
It will mark the end of what Democrats say has been a tumultous, two-year GOP reign in Concord. Republicans say Bettencourt has helped usher in much-needed fiscal responsibility.
Bettencourt said other priorities in his life made it necessary for him to leave the Legislature.
Last week, he graduated from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and will wed Shannon Shutts, spokeswoman for the House GOP office, on June 2.
Bettencourt said he also recently began a job that would conflict with his duties as a lawmaker.
"I'm getting married next week and I am at a point in my life where my family should and needs to be my first priority," he said.
"It is also critical that I am able to focus my full attention on my role as executive director of the New Hampshire Legal Rights Foundation," Bettencourt said. "This cannot happen while there is the potential for conflict with my role as a member of the House."
The foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to "defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms throughout New Hampshire," according to its website. Its vice chairman is House Speaker William O'Brien.