The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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January 14, 2013

Southern lawmakers' hopes high for getting things done for region

CHARLESTON — CHARLESTON — Southern lawmakers bundled up Monday for Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s outdoor inauguration, amid high hopes of getting things done for West Virginia in general and their region in particular in the months ahead.

A new senator — Daniel Hall — expects southern counties to have a strong voice in government, with a chief executive hailing from that region.

“I think that has to be a plus,” said Hall, a Democrat representing the 9th District of Raleigh and Wyoming counties.

“He’s from our area and he knows our needs just as good or better than anyone else does. He’s good, and the state made the right decision in voting for him.”

House Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, predicted that Tomblin will “do a fine job.”

“He’s experienced and a very hard worker,” the four-term speaker said.

“Obviously, we won’t start session until Feb. 13, but there’s a lot of work we’re doing to get ready for the session.”

Hours before the ceremony, Thompson’s special task force scrutinizing Tomblin’s education audit met at the Capitol for the first time. “I’m looking forward to the research and resources that they’re able to provide to me and other members of the House,” the speaker said.

“I think it will be quite helpful.”

Lawmakers tuned in to perhaps get a hint or two in Tomblin’s inaugural remarks as a curtain-raiser to his State of the State address next month.

On the night of that speech, lawmakers will have completed February interims, giving the leadership time to see what legislation, if any, has been recommended, Thompson pointed out.

“So we’ll have a much better idea of some of the priority items we’re going to have on that day,” Thompson said. The speaker said he and Tomblin enjoy a solid working relationship.

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