JEFFERSON CITY — An activist who first moved into the public eye during protests in Ferguson almost five years ago and then upset the political establishment to win a seat in the Missouri House, says he is officially resigning at the end of the month.
Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, announced his resignation in May on the second-to-last day of the annual legislative session. But he didn’t say when he would submit his letter of resignation.
On Friday, Franks said July 31 would be his last day as a state representative. And he said he’s moving away from Missouri, though he wouldn’t elaborate.
“I love my city but I can’t heal from trauma and survive in the epicenter any longer,” Franks said in a Thursday Facebook post. “I’m not running away from it I’m choosing to change my environment to be the best version of me. I’m making a selfish decision and it feels great. If I don’t make this move, St Louis is going to kill me.”
He also criticized “politicians and political insiders who keep playing this game with the peoples lives,” the media “that will refuse to report the truth,” leaders “that look like me but perpetuate the same systemic oppression,” and “white progressives who call them selves allies but don’t see the value of Black spaces, black representation or lived experience.”
In May, Franks said he was resigning to focus on his mental health and his family.
“It’s about taking a step back,” he said.
In 2016, Franks unseated Democrat Penny Hubbard in the 78th House District, which takes in downtown St. Louis, most of the near north side and parts of the city’s south side. He won reelection in 2018.
When Franks’ resignation becomes official, Gov. Mike Parson will be able to call a special election. Political parties will then choose their respective nominees to fill the vacancy in the heavily Democratic district.
The special election will likely take place on Nov. 5, when two other special elections to fill Missouri House vacancies are already scheduled.
Franks says a direct pipeline to those in authority, including police and prosecutors, is imperative to cultivate change.