CHARLESTON — Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, West Virginia’s Legislature briefly meets today to organize itself for 2021.
Leading the effort will be Craig Blair, the state senator whose 15th District includes Hampshire County. His colleagues elected him Senate President for the 2021 term.
“Our primary goal above all is to do our work for the people of West Virginia in the safest manner possible,” he said. “Right now, I would expect Senate members, staff and support staff to be on hand at varying degrees.”
The senators and delegates meet for just 1 day, then adjourn until Feb. 10. It’s an unusual schedule that occurs every 4 years for the session following a gubernatorial election. The extra time gives the new governor time to put a cabinet in place and prepare a budget proposal.
This year the interim will allow time for Blair and new Speaker Roger Hanshaw time to organize how the 2 bodies will operate under Covid restrictions.
Delegate Ruth Rowan noted that her house will spread out seating so delegates will occupy the viewing gallery for now. Rowan said her desk will be “in the same vicinity” as previous years.
The other delegate representing the part of Hampshire that Rowan doesn’t is new this year.
George Miller of Berkeley Springs won the 58th District office, defeating 7-term incumbent Daryl Cowles in the primary and Democrat Tom Harden in November.
“He is fantastic,” Rowan said. “Sometimes you meet a person and you automatically know you’re going to be great friends.”
The 4th legislative member representing Hampshire is the other 15th District senator, Charles Trump of Berkeley Springs.