After Senator Kessler announced he has enough votes to pass a rule change to create an Acting Senate President position, which he would fill, Acting Governor Tomblin announced today that he has formulated a working group of attorneys alongside his legal council to develop a Constitutional amendment making a Lt. Governor position.
Less than 72 hours ago, Tomblin met with Kessler and Thompson over lunch at the Governor’s Mansion. Tomblin gave little information about what issues he would tackle, putting soon-to-be Acting Senate President and the Speaker of the House at a small disadvantage.
The most appropriate question at today’s press conference, I felt, was in regard to why this was one of the first pieces of legislation we’ve heard about from Tomblin, why is creating this position so important when our state is facing many more important challenges, and doesn’t this just add more chaos?
Tomblin felt that this was of upmost importance. One has to wonder if Tomblin isn’t doing this to possibly find a position for one of his longtime Senate supporters, Senate Majority Leader, Truman Chafin, or Senate Finance Chair, Walt Helmick. Even if that’s not the case, does West Virginia need a Lt. Governor right now? If the amendment passes both the Senate and the House, it must be voted on by the people of West Virginia. While Tomblin was extremely vague in regard to a timeline, can we afford another special election?
Speaking of a special election, the first thing said by the Acting Governor was that he is looking forward to the oral arguments that will be presented to the Supreme Court next week dealing with the possibility of a special election. He made a point to state his person feelings regarding the timing of the next gubernatorial election: 2012.
According to Speaker Thompson's press release, "The Acting Governor’s proposal, which is similar to one initially proposed by Delegate John Doyle, is certainly worthy of consideration by members of the Legislature and their staffs. However, it has nothing to do with the constitutional crisis in which we now find ourselves. The solution is a new election this year, which the Constitution clearly envisions and the people absolutely deserve."
If we have a special election for governor in 2011, can we simultaneously vote for a person to hold that office as well as the proposed Constitutional amendment?