As he suggested was likely on Friday, Del. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson) has decided to run for the state Senate, seeking the seat being vacated with the retirement of Sen. William Wampler (R-Bristol).

In a statement, Carrico, a former state police trooper, promised to oppose tax increases and support education and infrastructure improvements in Southwest Virginia. Infusing his comments with some Tea Party rhetoric, he pledged to support the Constitution and said he was not afraid to take on “the ACLU, the EPA, nor the Obama Administration when they tread on the rights and freedoms of the people.”

“I understand the challenges and issues facing the families of Southwest because my own family has lived them,” he said. “Southwest has always been my home, and I have always stood up and fought for the people of our region. The most effective representatives are most like the people they are entrusted to serve. As demonstrated throughout my decades of public service, I am.”

Carrico, 49, has represented part of the Senate district in the House of Delegates for 10 years. He is so far the only candidate to declare in the race. Democrats were surprised by Wampler’s announcement Friday. They have said they will likely have a candidate for the now open seat but no names have yet surfaced.