The Times West Virginian

West Virginia

January 15, 2013

Commitment to W.Va.

Earl Ray Tomblin takes oath of office for four-year term

CHARLESTON — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin said Monday he’ll seek improvements for West Virginians over his full four-year term, vowing in his inaugural address to protect coal and fight the federal government “to get off our backs and leave us alone.”

Tomblin spoke for 18 minutes Monday after being sworn in on the south steps of the state Capitol. His wife of 32 years, Joanne, and their son, Brent, held the Bible while the 60-year-old Democrat took his oath from chief state Supreme Court Justice Brent Benjamin.

While the theme of the inauguration was “West Virginia First,” Tomblin didn’t introduce any new ideas or initiatives. He spoke only in general terms about ensuring a better quality of life and continuing a long-standing commitment to fiscal responsibility.

“I reaffirm my commitment to you today that I will continue to spend every working minute to make West Virginia a better place,” he said.

Tomblin, the state’s longest-serving Senate president, used his speech to mention accomplishments that included the state’s balanced budget and solid rainy day fund. He touted tax cuts, too, including the state food tax that is being eliminated next July.

He also noted that the state is less than four years away from paying off its once-massive workers’ compensation system debt, which he called “an albatross around our economic neck.”

In protecting West Virginia jobs, “unfortunately for me, that means in many instances fighting the federal government to get off our backs and leave us alone,” Tomblin said, drawing applause. “But this is a fight that I will not concede and I will never back down.”

West Virginia is the nation’s second-largest provider of coal and the nation’s largest exporter, although thousands of coal industry jobs have been lost in Appalachia to an economic slowdown, competition from cheap natural gas, and tougher federal air and water pollution regulations.

Tomblin has repeatedly criticized President Barack Obama’s approach to coal industry regulation. He has continued to pursue a federal lawsuit filed against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by his predecessor, U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. The EPA has repeatedly sparred with the mining industry over Clean Water Act-related permits, particularly for mountaintop removal mining operations.

Tomblin vowed to pursue improvements in education and spoke about the passage of laws aimed at protecting families, including banning texting while driving, monitoring prescription drug use and enhancing miners’ safety.

“We’ll put our families and our communities first. And I can promise you one thing — we will continue putting them first for the next four years,” he said.

Many of those attending Monday’s ceremony under an overcast sky were bundled up with temperatures around 40.

Teresa Clevenger, of Iaeger, huddled in a fleece blanket embroidered with the governor’s name and date as she and husband Sherman waited to see their 17-year-old son escort new Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

A senior at River View High, Joshua Clevenger is also in the Governor’s Honors Academy. And from his dad’s point of view, he was in exactly the right place Monday.

“We call him a natural-born politician. He likes shaking hands and rubbing elbows,” Sherman Clevenger said.

Amanda Davis, of Lenore, and four relatives arrived early for front-row seats.

Davis’ 9-year-old daughter, Olivia Osborne, was performing with the Appalachian Children’s Chorus, so she came to watch an inaugural address for the first time.

“I’ve never been, so I am looking for a sense of pride in our state,” she said.

A part-time gas station cashier married to a laid-off coal truck driver, Davis also hoped to hear Tomblin talk about how to help with her family’s biggest need — health care.

“They need to make it more affordable and there needs to be less red tape to getting help,” she said. “That’s our biggest need. That and for the coal business to pick up.”

A public reception followed at the nearby Culture Center, where the Tomblins stood in a reception line greeting well-wishers while some nibbled state-shaped cookies with blue and gold sprinkles. The inaugural ball for 2,000 people, only 500 of them members of the public, was scheduled for Monday night at the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences.

1
Text Only
West Virginia
  • 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

  • Reporter heard truck backfiring, not gunshot

    Similar sounds in different circumstances create different reactions. That is so for WVVA reporter Annie Moore, who last Monday told police someone fired a gun at her while she was shooting file footage in the area of a recent murder.

    July 19, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads