From Staff Reports
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s House of Delegates elected Tim Miley as its new speaker Tuesday — though only after one of his fellow Democrats crossed party lines to vote for the GOP nominee.
The Harrison County lawyer prevailed 53-44 over House Minority Leader Tim Armstead of Kanawha County during a brief special session convened by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin.
Miley, 47, had been Judiciary Committee chair under former Speaker Rick Thompson, who resigned over the weekend to join Tomblin’s Cabinet as secretary of Veterans’ Assistance. Miley will preside over the House through the end of 2014, with all 100 seats on the ballot that year.
In a floor speech after Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis administered his oath as speaker, Miley described growing up in a bipartisan household. Thanking his wife, daughter, parents and other family members present, he pledged to focus on education and the state’s road and Internet infrastructure while linking both to economic development.
Delegate Gary Howell, a Republican who represents Mineral County, said he was disappointed with Miley’s selection. “Tim Miley said he will stay the course. We need to change the course, especially when we are ranked 50th in the good category and number one in the bad category,” said Howell. “While Miley was chair of the Judiciary Committee a lot of pro jobs legislation died in committee. I don’t want that to happen in the House as a whole.”
Times-News reporter Elaine Blaisdell contributed to this story.