By Tom Lutey – Billings Gazette

BILLINGS – Lockwood and Worden state legislator Jonathan McNiven has resigned his post just two weeks after the general election.

McNiven, a Republican first elected in 2010, told The Billings Gazette late Thursday he was leaving his post to focus on the Yellowstone County News, a publication he purchased last month.

McNiven defeated Democrat Tom Curry with 65 percent of the vote in the Nov. 4 election for House District 56.

“It has been my passion to serve the people of Lockwood, Huntley, Briarwood and Blue Creek as well as Yellowstone County,” McNiven said. “This summer the opportunity to serve the community in a new manner came my way with the purchase of the Yellowstone County News, where I will serve as owner and publisher.”

McNiven notified Secretary of State Linda McCullough of his decision by letter Wednesday. Yellowstone County Republican Central Committee will get the chance to replace McNiven by submitting three nominees to the Yellowstone County Commission.

The commission will decide who McNiven’s replacement will be in time for the 2015 Legislature, which begins the first week in January.