House Speaker Rick Thompson

CHARLESTON, W.Va.— The Speaker of the state House of Delegates says he is looking forward to a new challenge.

“I think it’s the best thing for me to do at this point in my career,” House Speaker Rick Thompson said Thursday of his plans to resign from the House on June 15th to become Secretary of the state Department of Veterans Assistance.

MetroNews photo

Rick Thompson, speaker of he West Virginia House of Delgates, plans to move into Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s administration.

“I appreciate this opportunity from the Governor to let me continue to serve the people of West Virginia and our veterans,” he said.

Thompson is a Democrat who was first elected to the House in 1980 and returned as a delegate from Wayne County in 2000.  He has served as Speaker for the past seven years.

He will draw on his service in the U.S. Army at Fort Knox from 1972 to 1974 when he replaces current Secretary of Veterans Assistance Keith Gwinn who is planning to retire.

“I’ve always been an advocate for veterans,” Thompson said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”  “I’m a hard worker.  I’ll work night and day to get things done for our veterans.  I’m really looking forward to it.”

The surprise announcement from Thompson this week has set off a scramble for the critical leadership position in the House.

The possible replacements include House Majority Leader Brent Boggs, Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White, Judiciary Chairman Tim Miley and Delegate Doug Skaff.

Governor Tomblin will have 10 days following Thompson’s resignation on June 15th to call a Special Session so the House can elect a new Speaker.

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Comments

  • Vote Against Miley

    I agree completely with Barry Bledsoe. Tim Miley played politics with the continued growth of WVU. Miley was more worried about getting his magistrate pay raise bill passed then passing a bill that was good for all of West Virginians. He wanted to pass the magistrate bill because of his "then" intentions to run for state senate against Sam Cann. Look at what counties would be affected by the magistrate bill! The senatorial district of Tim Miley! Support a pay raise for magistrates who do less work than those of other counties who have larger volume... Real smart Miley... How about you quit playing playing politics with the livelihood of honest working West Virginians! Let's make sure our delegates elect a leader that will worry about the important issues facing West Virginians- not worried about the next election like Tim Miley.

    • EPMountaineer

      None of the magistrates in this state make good money and none of them deserved cuts. I believe the ones were going to receive a $6,000 pay cut. Even if they have a few less cases they're still working their butts off, they just don't have as big of a back-log as the bigger counties. They all might as well be considered volunteers because of the long hours they dedicate, day and night, and for all the terrible issues they have to hear and handle. They don't deserve pay-cuts and I am glad Del. Miley, along with others in the house, took a stand against Sen. Prezioso, to get it right. The magistrates would have been screwed if Miley didn't do what he did.

    • liberty4all

      So the government handout to Morgantown, otherwise known as the TIF, is somehow vital to the "continued growth of WVU" and good for all West Virginians? Quit drinking the Kool Aid. If you were concerned with the livelihood of honest working West Virginians you would have opposed the TIF. Millions of dollars for a hundred seasonal peanut vendors really isn't a good bargain for the taxpayer's money. And don't tell me about the construction workers to build the stadium because without any guarantees they will be local, we'll see how many come from out of state.
      I love all the "small government Republicans" who get so concerned with taxpayer money being spent, until it is spent on something they like/want. Any true conservative who is for smaller government, less spending, less taxes, and generally keeping the government out of the business of picking winners and losers, should have opposed the TIF. The area is already being developed without the need for state give-aways. If a project is not viable enough to be able to privately support itself or otherwise obtain funding on its own, then capitalism dictates it should fail.
      Libertarians, unlike Republicans, are the only consistent voice for smaller government and less intrusion into our lives. Republicans simply spout the rhetoric when it suits them or when their corporate masters tell them they should say it.

  • Joseph Gollie

    I just hope Mr. Thompson doesn't get sucked into the politics of the veteran organizations in the state. If he does he will suffer the same fate as Keith Gwinn.

  • Wowbagger

    The Speaker not only found a photographer who is particularly accomplished with Photoshop. He is being rewarded with a big pension on the backs of lowly state employees for being a good Democrat and a good party man! He must be really good at following Earl Ray's orders or perhaps something else.

    • Nathan

      Another explanation is that perhaps the governor didn't like the job he was doing as speaker and did this to get him away from that role. I don't know anymore than you do.

      • Wowbagger

        I'm not buying that. After Keith Burdette's jump to Commerce and several previous jumps from low paid part time legislators to high paid Super Secretaries the pattern is now clear. This is an excellent way to reward the Democrat Party faithful with a good retirement partially paid for by decades of small contributions by underpaid state employees. This is probably the reason why the otherwise useless Super Secretary positions were created.

  • Poverty_Stricken_Taxpayer

    Thompson isnt going to run for governor,he is running for $60,000/year retired politician. Why would any taxpayer who is going to retire with only social security applaud Thompson's feathering of his own nest? And Thompson is only one among many WV politicians who feather their own nests. Sux, really.

  • Larry

    It's always a nice story when a politician can move from a cushy, do nothing, elected position into a cushy, high paying, do nothing bureaucratic position, really warms the heart.

  • Tater

    2 years ? I'm not sure he is qualified to chair that seat. If he goes ant-gun for WV veterans he won't last long. Shining shoes at Starbux would be a good follow up job.

    • Nathan

      Anti-gun? Where do you get your information? He is a STRONG supporter of gun rights. He is even trying to bring a firearms manufacture to West Virginia.

  • Mark

    Good riddance to another selfish and worthless politician.

  • Mark

    I am happy Speaker Thompson . It sounds like other's would have rather had one of their picks in that position! To do that run for Gov. and win and then you will have your say! Veterans deserve all they can get and I think what a better choice than Speaker of THE HOUSE Rick Thompson. IF this is to put him in position to run for Gov. I hope it helps him. This area could use some help from the Highest State office cause when Gov. Tomblin term ends he is not able to run for this office again . SO GO RICK!

  • Habib Haddad

    Better to remain silent and appear to be a fool than open one's mouth and remove all doubt.

  • JACK

    Looks like another run for governor coming.

  • WVU Proud!

    Every WVU fan needs to call their House of Delegate member and voice their opposition to Tim Miley.... We don't need a jokster as our Speaker of the House!

    • liberty4all

      Would this be the same Tim Miley who voted for the TIF and voiced support for it on Hoppy's program? The same one who I've seen at the WVU football and basketball games as a season ticket holder? Not sure why "WVU fans" should be so upset - you (and he) won.
      Is he really a Pitt fan?

      • Barry Bledsoe

        The same Tim Miley who voted for the TIF? How about the same TIm Miley who held up the TIF bill, over an unrelated magistrate pay raise issue, then caused us to have to spend more WV taxpayer money for a special session, to get things done that should have been done in the regular session!

        • liberty4all

          There was opposition from many members of the House, some of whom were in leadership positions and whose counties were directly affected by the magistrate bill. Positions were changed in the House and Senate on the two pieces of legislation in the special session.
          Not sure how one delegate in one half of the legislative body bears the burden for all things wrong in a session where over 1100 bills had to be acted on in three months. Plenty of blame/credit for both parties in both sides of legislature. That is why this country needs more than a two party system.
          Perhaps you should run for office and fix things down in Charleston as a watchdog of taxpayer's money!

          • Tom Stark

            How can the "blame be placed on "both sides of the aisle when every attempt to alter the rules giving the Democrats total control over the agenda are rebuffed? They have total control over which bills get a hearing, for Pete's sake. The Republicans can get nothing done without permission.

            Thompson is feathering his retirement with a full time position that will up his pension. What else does one expect from him.

    • Gwendolyn

      No need for every WVU fans to phone their House of Delegate members. WVU rules the whole Legislature.

  • Poorly_Paid_Taxpayer_With_No_Retirement_Pension

    So what else is new? A retirement pension that is boosted sixfold within just three years. We in the private sector do it all the time (not), because we don't have pensions at all.

    • Nathan

      He made a lot of money practicing law. He is not doing this for the money. If anything, he is losing money on this deal.

  • Chef Camille

    Look for the union label. Earl Ray makes good on his Faustian bargain.

  • ChangeWV

    Comes at a good time for him since so many are so dissatisfied with his tyrannical leadership.

  • stephenwv

    Transition from a low pay government position to a high pay government position with great retirement benefits in the state with more bureaucrats per capita than any other state.

    • victor

      Well said sir.

    • Vashti

      Inaccurate

    • Nathan

      Stephen,
      I'm sure Speaker Thompson will be taking a pay cut. He's not going to be making anywhere near the money working full time for the state as he was practicing law.