CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will have a final address before the state legislature next week.

Traditionally at the invitation of the House of Delegates, outgoing governors give a final speech on the first day of the legislative session, Tomblin Chief of Staff Chris Stadelman said.

Lawmakers will begin their 60-day regular session Jan. 11. It will be ceremonial in nature with the formal elections of Sen. Mitch Carmichael as Senate president and Del. Tim Armstead as House speaker. After Tomblin’s address, lawmakers will recess until Feb. 8. The four weeks will give Governor-elect Jim Justice time to take office and prepare his proposed state budget.

According to Stadelman, Tomblin plans to touch on a number of topics from substance abuse to workforce initiatives to the state’s financial issues.

“You’ll also hear him stress the importance of the fiscal responsibility. That has been one of his hallmarks. Certainly working with (state Revenue) Secretary (Bob) Kiss, both when they were legislative leaders and now in the executive branch, to talk about how important it is to keep our bond rating solid and try and keep the Rainy Day funds solvent,” Stadelman said.

Tomblin, who was first elected to the legislature in 1972, hasn’t announced any specifics on what he plans to do after leaving office.

“I’ve got a lot of options right now,” he told MetroNews in early November. “After 42 years in this building, it’s going to be different, but I’ll still be around. West Virginia has been good to me and it’s my home. I’ll still try to contribute in one way or another. I’ll still be around.”

Justice will take the oath of office Jan. 16.

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