The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

January 25, 2013

Locals tapped for Legislature leadership

By Mannix Porterfield
Register-Herald Reporter

CHARLESTON — So little media attention is accorded in the onslaught of major legislative work within a session that the Senate Confirmations Committee might well be labeled the Rodney Dangerfield of all panels.

Put simply, no respect.

At least hardly the kind of committee work that grabs front-page headlines in West Virginia newspapers.

Two-term Sen. Mike Green, D-Raleigh, named this week by Senate President Jeffrey Kessler to chair the committee, doesn’t see the work ahead as insignificant. After all, that committee must pass on every appointment made by the governor.

“Historically, the committee on confirmations has been one that receives little attention from the media, due to the fact that it does not address public policy,” Green said Thursday.

“However, I plan on making the committee much more visible and active in regard to thoroughly researching and vetting all of the gubernatorial appointments.”

Green said he wants to work with the administration of Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to get his appointees named “in a timely manner, but still properly vetting all individuals.”

“I am equally anxious to work with committee members to encourage them to take an active role in personally vetting appointees from their respective districts,” Green added.

Kessler, D-Marshall, also named freshman Sen. Daniel Hall, D-Wyoming, to serve as vice chairman of the Senate Labor Committee.

“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to serve as vice chair of the labor committee,” he said.

Hall said he intends to work in tandem with the chairman, Sen. Jack Yost, D-Brooke, on labor issues in the coming session.

Green also was named to serve on the Energy, Industry and Mining Committee, which he had chaired, and the finance, government organization, banking and insurance, and natural resources committee. The latter panel is now headed by Sen. Bill Laird, D-Fayette.

“Last year presented many challenges,” Green said.

“However, working together with Sen. Hall and our area legislators this year promises to be one of many measurable successes.”

Besides labor, Hall also was named to serve on the judiciary, education, agriculture, banking and insurance and interstate cooperation committees.

“I’m glad to be on the education committee and be a part of the reforms discussion anticipated for this year,” the new senator said.

“Serving on the Judiciary Committee with Chairman (Corey) Palumbo (D-Kanawha) provides our district the opportunity to influence a large part of the legislation that comes through the Senate. This committee requires a lot of work. I’m looking forward to it.”

— E-mail: mannix@register-herald.com