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Originally published Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 12:11 PM

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DeBolt stepping down as House minority leader

House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt announced Wednesday he is stepping down as leader of the House Republicans because of recent health issues.

The Associated Press

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OLYMPIA, Wash. —

House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt announced Wednesday he is stepping down as leader of the House Republicans because of recent health issues.

The Chehalis Republican told colleagues on the House floor that he is handing off the position but will serve out his two-year term.

"I'm not leaving. I'm just changing roles for a while," DeBolt said.

Last week, he missed several days at the Legislature and was hospitalized after he collapsed at his home.

"Two years ago, I had some severe health challenges, and now I'm going to face some new challenges," DeBolt told fellow lawmakers. "I know I'm going to be fine, but it's time for me to step aside as leader of the House Republican caucus."

DeBolt, 47, suffered from potassium imbalances two years ago and has had some kidney problems that he's been taking medication for, said Rep. Joel Kretz of Wauconda. Kretz has been named acting minority leader until the caucus does a leadership reorganization.

House Speaker Frank Chopp lauded DeBolt's service as leader, saying in a statement that his "dedication to his caucus, this institution and the state has been unwavering."

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