CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission will now have to fill a vacant seat after Governor-elect Jim Justice announced Tuesday that Commissioner Dave Hardy will serve as the new state Revenue Secretary.
Hardy will resign from the Commission on Jan. 19.
Justice said in a news release Hardy has the experience to help him conquer the “budget crisis” in West Virginia. Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper told MetroNews he believes Hardy will get the job done.
“There’s no question that the state of West Virginia is in a financial crisis, so I think the position suits him well, but it is a big and tough situation he is going into,” Carper said.
Hardy, a Democrat, has been a member of the County Commission since 2001 when he was appointed to the seat vacated by Louis Bloom, who now serves as a judge in Kanawha County.
“Dave Hardy has been an excellent County Commissioner,” Carper said. “The voters thought that because they elected him time after time after that. It’s not that easy to stay in favor of the public when you have to make tough decisions.”
Hardy was reelected to six-year terms in 2004, 2010 and then again in 2016. He was first elected to Charleston City Council in 1995 where he served on the city’s finance committee.
Commissioner Hoppy Shores said in a statement, “Commissioner Hardy has been a great colleague to work with over the years. I wish him well in his new position at the State and hope we continue to work together in the future to better Kanawha County and the State of West Virginia.”
The County Commission will be in charge of appointing Hardy’s replacement until the next General Election in 2018. The Commission has a policy statement which commits the Commission to transparency and allows for public comment during the selection process of positions when vacancy occurs.
“We’ll give notice as to the vacancy and take applications and see who applies. We’ll deal with it the way I deal with all issues — in a public meeting,” Carper said.
State law requires the successor to be a Democrat in the current Magisterial District.