T0m Marino, the Pennsylvania Republican congressman who was nominated by President Trump as "drug czar" in late 2017 but withdrew the nomination once it was reported that he had pushed for a policy to protect the pharmaceutical industry from enforcement related to the opioid epidemic, has announced that he is resigning from his congressional seat.
Marino, the Hill reported Thursday, is resigning to take a position in the private sector. The exact position was not revealed. Marino will officially leave on January 23.
"Having spent over two decades serving the public, I have chosen to take a position in the private sector where I can use both my legal and business experience to create jobs around the nation," Marino said in a statement. "I want to thank the people of the 12th Congressional District of Pennsylvania for the faith they have placed in me to represent them in Congress. It truly has been one of the greatest honors of my life," Marino added.
A lawyer who served for a time as U.S. Attorney, Marino was elected to Congress in 2010 in what was then Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District, which represents a rural and Republican-leaning part of Pennsylvania. Marino had been re-elected in every election since, with the court-ordered redistricting of Pennsylvania last year switching him to the 12th District.
Marino was named in September of 2017 as President Trump's nominee to head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a job commonly known as the "drug czar." But a report by 60 Minutes the following month named Marino as the chief supporter of a failed legislative effort to protect the pharmaceutical industry from regulation, which 60 Minutes described as Congress helping to fuel the opioid crisis. This led to the withdrawal of Marino's nomination, although he remained a member of Congress and was re-elected last year.With the move, Marino becomes the latest Pennsylvania congressman to resign early. Republicans Charlie Dent and Patrick Meehan both resigned from Congress in the middle of their terms last year, Dent to get a jump start on his planned retirement and Meehan following a sexual harassment allegation from a female aide. In 2017, Rep. Tim Murphy, also of Pennsylvania, resigned following news that the anti-abortion lawmaker had pressured a lover to terminate her pregnancy, per Politico.
Marino's departure will trigger a special election to fill the seat. The last such election in Pennsylvania, following Murphy's resignation, led to the surprise election of Democrat Conor Lamb.