Updated: 10/5/13, 12:35 p.m.
Over the past few months much of the state political news has been focused on the gear-up to the 2016 Governor’s race, with three current candidates getting most of the attention: Senate President Bill Cole (R), business owner Jim Justice (owner of the Greenbrier and a number of coal operations), and Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler.
In our December Legislative Hubbub (sign up here for all the news), we’ll dive deeper into this race and the other state races that we are keeping an eye on, including those for the Agriculture Commissioner, State Auditor and Secretary of State positions, just to name a few.
There are some other state races we are keeping an eye, too, including those for the Agriculture Commissioner, State Auditor and Secretary of State positions, to name just a few.
But while these races have been getting started, a number of legislatives seats have changed in the State House and Senate chambers with little fanfare or note.
One senator and two delegates have left their seats since the end of the 2015 legislative session.
David Nohe, the Republican Wood County senator vacated his seat in August after being appointed to the West Virginia Parole Board.
Governor Tomblin appointed former Delegate Bob Ashley (R – Roane Co) to replace Nohe. Ashley’s Senate seat covers Pleasants, Wirt, Wood and part of Roane County. He was sworn in by Senate President Cole on September 15, 2015 (right).
First House Vacancy Filled by Steven Shaffer, Preston County
Delegate Larry Williams (D – Preston Co.) retired to take a position with the Department of Agriculture. Williams served in the House of Delegates for 22 years, and was especially active on issues relating to farming and agriculture.
Governor Tomblin appointed Steven Shaffer (D – Preston Co.) to fill the vacant seat. Shaffer is currently a lawyer in Preston County, and formerly served as a coal miner, the mayor of Tunnelton and an assistant prosecuting attorney in the county.
Second House Vacancy Filled by Martin “Rick” Atkinson
The second House of Delegates vacancy – the seat left vacant by Bob Ashley’s appointment to the Senate – was filled on Oct. 4. Governor Tomblin appointed Martin “Rick” Atkinson III of Reedy to fill the 11th District House seat (covering Roane and part of Jackson County).
The appointment is effective immediately.
Atkinson has a background in the treated wood industry, retiring from BPB – Stella Jones, a leading manufacturer of pressure treated wood products. Atkinson is now the director of sales for Mountain State Log Homes and an active member of the Roane County 4-H club.
How Mid-Term Vacancies are Filled
It is the Governor’s duty to appoint a replacement to fill a vacant seat. The replacement is appointed until the end of the term of that seat. The Governor chooses the replacement from a list of three “legally qualified” people who are submitted as options by the executive committee of the Democratic or Republican party – whichever party the person holding the seat immediately before its vacancy was affiliated with.
The Today in the Legislature blog is the best source of information on these appointments.