By Mannix Porterfield
Longtime legislator Virginia Mahan no longer is serving in the West Virginia Legislature, but the former delegate has landed a new role in state government — legislative liaison for the Department of Health and Human Resources.
Her appointment was announced Friday in Charleston by the agency’s secretary, Rocco Fucillo.
“Ms. Mahan’s extensive legislative experience and knowledge will be an asset to the department,” he said.
“I am delighted that she has joined my staff.”
Mahan initially was elected to the House of Delegates from the old 27th District, embracing Raleigh and Summers counties, and won re-election in every two-year cycle until she chose not to seek another term last year.
Her former district became part of a vast redistricting plan that drastically reshaped Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, Monroe and Wyoming counties.
During her tenure in the House, she chaired the pivotal Legislature Rule-Making Review Committee, the Equal Pay Commission and the Committee on Children’s Issues.
Mahan also was a long-time member of the House Judiciary and Finance Committees and made political history in West Virginia when she became the first female member of the chamber to serve on the Joint Committee on Government and Finance.
In her final year as a delegate, Mahan was disappointed by one setback — the House’s failure to consider a bill her children’s committee prepared during the interims session, the so-called “Caylee’s Law,” inspired by the death of a child whose mother didn’t report her missing in Florida for 31 days.
Mahan’s legislation would have imposed jail terms on parents or guardians who failed to report children missing in a timely manner.
One year ago, she announced her decision against seeking re-election, saying, “I have thoroughly enjoyed and been very humbled by this incredible journey to work for the needs of the people of my district and the state of West Virginia.
“It has been a labor of love. But there are other prospects I would like to be able to pursue.”
Mahan was given the Woman of the Year in Government Award in 2006 by the West Virginia Women’s Commission’s Celebrate Women Program. Before running for the House, she had been an organizer and spokesperson for a number of nonprofit organizations representing consumer and highway safety interests.
For the past three decades, Mahan lived in Green Sulphur Springs but recently moved to Charleston.
Mahan could not immediately be reached for comment.
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