The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

June 4, 2013

Tomblin picks ex-speaker Bob Kiss as Revenue chief

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is calling former House Speaker Bob Kiss back into government service, naming him Monday as his new Revenue secretary.

The former Raleigh County lawmaker will head the Cabinet department that oversees both tax collections and budget planning, starting July 1. Jason Pizatella, the governor’s legislative director, will act as secretary during the interim. Kiss will succeed Charles Lorensen, who became Tomblin’s chief of staff upon last week’s return of Rob Alsop to the private sector.

The move reunites Kiss and Tomblin, who was Senate president before becoming West Virginia’s chief executive. During the 1990s and until Kiss left the House in 2006, they were among a crop of state leaders who began to focus tackling state debts and funding gaps. During their joint tenure leading the Legislature, they supported measures shoring up the pension fund for teachers, privatizing the state-run workers’ compensation system and gradually cutting taxes on groceries and corporate net income, among other initiatives. Kiss also championed proposals targeting insurance rates and prescription drug costs during his tenure.

Fellow delegates first elected Kiss as speaker in 1997. He had become House Finance chairman in 1993 after first joining the House in 1989. The 55-year-old has practiced tax law, among other areas, at the regional firm of Bowles, Rice — which Alsop is joining later this month after 2 1/2 years as chief of staff.

“Bob truly understands the intricate finances of state government and the importance of maintaining our state’s good fiscal standing for the people of West Virginia,” Tomblin said in a written statement citing Kiss’ background and legislative service.

The Department of Revenue includes the Lottery Commission, the Alcohol Beverage Control Administration and agencies overseeing the racing industry, insurers and banks and other financial institutions. Kiss’ wife, Melinda, is also considered a fiscal guru and is assistant commissioner of finance there.

Kiss’s successor as House leader, Speaker Rick Thompson, will also be joining Tomblin’s Cabinet. Thompson is expected to take over this month at Veterans’ Assistance, where Secretary Keith Gwinn is retiring amid health problems. Another former Senate president, Keith Burdette, meanwhile is the governor’s Commerce secretary. Like Kiss and Tomblin, they are Democrats.

The recent shuffling follows Tomblin’s election in November to a full term. After then-Gov. Joe Manchin’s 2010 U.S. Senate victory, Tomblin began acting as governor under the state constitution’s vacancy provision before winning a special 2011 election to complete Manchin’s unfinished term.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • Rahal: Fund VA reform ‘for our veterans’

     On the cusp of Congress’s lengthy summer break, factions sparring over legislation to strengthen health care and funding reforms for the Department of Veterans Affairs may have reached a compromise.
    Although final details are still in the works, the top two negotiators, Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., released a joint statement that said they had “made significant progress toward and agreement on legislation to make VA more accountable and to help the department recruit more doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals.”

    July 29, 2014

  • Attorney general reaches $950,000 settlement with three financial groups

    West Virginia’s attorney general has reached a $950,000 settlement with three companies over allegations of antitrust law violations.

    July 28, 2014

  • Woman convicted in teen’s slaying moved

    A Monongalia County teenager has been transferred to a state prison to complete her sentence for the slaying of another teenager.
    The Lakin Correctional Center near Point Pleasant said Friday Rachel Shoaf has been booked at the Division of Corrections prison. Shoaf turned 18 last month and had been held in a juvenile facility.

    July 26, 2014

  • Board suspends clinic operator’s license

    A West Virginia board Friday suspended the license of the operator of a pain management clinic where investigators found syringes were being reused. It was the second disciplinary action involving the doctor’s license within a decade.

    July 26, 2014

  • Candidates: Leave global warming debate to scientists

    Two West Virginia congressional hopefuls said during their first candidate forum matchup Thursday that the global warming debate is better left to scientists.
    Democrat Nick Casey and Republican Alex Mooney added that other countries should step up in reducing carbon emissions.

    July 24, 2014

  • Lawsuit filed over Dirty Girl Mud Run

    A lawsuit has been filed against the producers of a run that was canceled in Charleston in which participants were told they wouldn’t be issued refunds.

    July 24, 2014

  • WVa. man sues GM over wife's death

    A West Virginia man has filed a lawsuit against General Motors Corp., claiming a defective ignition switch in a Chevrolet Cobalt caused a 2006 accident that killed his pregnant wife.

    July 24, 2014

  • Feds commit to health studies on spilled chemical

    After largely dismissing the possibility of long-term health problems, federal officials will conduct more studies on chemicals that spilled into West Virginia’s largest drinking water supply in January.
    In the next two months, federal health officials are also heading back to West Virginia.

    July 24, 2014

  • Park Service assesses impact of W.Va. attractions

    Four National Park Service attractions in West Virginia drew a total of 1.5 million visitors last year.

    July 23, 2014

  • This weekend's 'Dirty Girl' race canceled

    Organizers of a Charleston running event that was canceled for this weekend says it won’t issue refunds.

    July 23, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads