Leah Cole, a political newcomer who unexpectedly won a special election to become the Peabody state representative in 2013, announced she is resigning to focus on her nursing career.

The Peabody Republican, then 24, upset Democrat Beverly Griffin Dunne and Independent David Gravel to fill the seat vacated after Joyce Spiliotis died in November 2012.

Cole, who was reelected to the 12th Essex seat in 2014, said she will resign as of Sept. 28.

“As many people know, prior to being elected to the House of Representatives, I was working as a nurse full time and continued to work as a nurse part time after being elected,” Cole said in a statement. “I decided to get involved in public service because I wanted to contribute to our state policies and invoke positive changes, but I never intended for politics to be a lifelong career.


“It has come to a point where I can no longer continue to be the state representative, as well as pursue my passion of nursing. Though I am deeply grateful for the opportunity I have had to serve, given to me by the people of Peabody, I have come to the difficult decision to focus on my nursing career. It has been an honor to represent the people of Peabody for these past two years, and I have loved working in the Legislature to deliver on priorities for our district.”

According to his office, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, in consultation with Secretary of State William F. Galvin, will set a date for a special election to fill Cole’s seat.

John Laidler can be reached at laidler@globe.com.