Following the state memorial service last week and the funeral yesterday, I believe that now is the appropriate time to shift focus toward the succession process in order to fill the vacancy left by the passing of our beloved U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.
No one can replace our Senator. No one can fill his shoes. And, we must never forget his tireless dedication as we humbly follow in his footsteps.
There is a saying that, “You are only as good as those around you.” I want to take this time to thank my dedicated staff for all that they have done over the past several days. We have responded to numerous calls and emails from individuals who have expressed their views about the succession process.
Let me say … that I have been so honored and humbled by the support that so many have given to me. I know that both Labor and Business have been vocal about this process and I appreciate their confidence.
I have said from the beginning … that I will not appoint myself. Please let me explain.
I truly believe that the cornerstone of our democracy hinges on the election process and that every voice can be heard through a vote.
Therefore, I would never support denying our citizens this right. Whether it is for a month or 2 ½ years, I just will not make that decision for the people of West Virginia.
A week ago, Secretary of State Tennant, bound by her duty to interpret and follow the elections code as enacted and approved, tells us that an appointment to temporarily fill the vacancy is required and that an election to fill Senator Byrd’s unexpired term cannot occur until November 2012.
I greatly respect the Secretary of State’s opinion as the chief elections officer in this state.
However, there are some who reasonably question the constitutionality and legislative intent of this law. And I think most agree, myself and Secretary of State Tennant included, that 2 ½ years is too long to wait for the people to have their say in an election.
For example, House of Delegates and U.S. Representatives members must run every 2 years … this appointment would be longer than their term of office.
That is why I have asked Attorney General Darrell McGraw, our state’s elected chief legal representative, to render a formal, written opinion on the status of the law.
I truly believe, out of respect for the Attorney General, that he should be given the opportunity to provide clarity on this issue. The Attorney General is the highest ranking legal official in the executive department and his opinions hold tremendous weight.
I will not move forward on an appointment or the succession process until the Attorney General’s opinion is rendered.
(Below is a link to the letter sent to WV Attorney General Darrell McGraw from the governor)
Topics: 2010, America, Capitol, Charleston, Governance, government, July 2, moniter, monitor, news, politics, public employees, senate seat, Senator Robert C. Byrd, society, succession process, U.S., United States, vacancy, West VirginiaPrint This Post