CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House of Delegates Minority Leader Tim Armstead says it remains to be seen if a Tim Miley-led House will be any different than the way former House Speaker Rick Thompson conducted business the last seven years.
Armstead, R-Kanawha, pledged a cooperative attitude from Republicans during an introductory speech for Miley Tuesday. Armstead said after the vote he hopes Republican issues that he believes will move the state forward will be seriously considered.
“We have to keep in mind a lot of the same bills that we’ve introduced that would make those changes are the ones that went through the judiciary committee where he (Miley) was chairman and that’s where they died,” Armstead said.
The minority leader said the 46 Republicans in the House want to see job creation, education reform, infrastructure improvements and other issues. Armstead said many times the GOP-backed measures didn’t get serious consideration during the Rick Thompson years.
“We would have to see a lot more willingness and a lot more interest in the things that we feel are necessary to move the state forward for this administration to be different than the previous one,” Armstead said.
Miley was getting high marks from others Tuesday including his main opposition in the speaker’s race Mingo County Delegate Harry Keith White.
“Tim’s a sharp guy and he’ll do a fine job,” White said.
The leader of the West Virginia Democratic Party was also complimentary.
“Speaker Miley has long been a courageous fighter for the working people of West Virginia and he has worked tirelessly to give them a voice in state government,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Larry Puccio.
“Miley is a responsible leader who will bring innovative and valuable ideas to the House to move West Virginia forward.”
With the slimmest of margins in the House, Democrats hold the edge over Republicans 54-46, Miley’s moves during the coming year will likely be highly scrutinized. Armstead said the Republicans would be watching.
“We have a lot going for us in the state of West Virginia and a lot of what is holding us back is our policy and we can change that,” Armstead said. “To the extent the new leadership is willing to do that we’re willing to work with them. Where they are not willing to do that we’re going to continue to fight for that and take that to the voters in 2014.”