CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael is no longer an employee of Frontier Communications.
The telecommunications company laid off Carmichael May 26, less than 10 months after he returned to Frontier following a three-day stint with competitor Citynet.
According to the Charleston Gazette-Mail, the removal was because of a “reduction in force.”
Politics, however, may have played a role; Carmichael, R-Jackson, voted in favor of a bill in March allowing local non-profit co-ops to form in an effort to increase statewide internet access.
Carmichael, who served in external affairs at the time of his firing, said he was “fine” during a telephone interview Monday evening.
“I kind of had an emotion when we cast that bill,” he said. “In fact, I even told some of my colleagues, I said, ‘I bet you that cost me my job.'”
House Bill 3093 will allow 20 families or businesses to organize and take out loans for necessary broadband infrastructure. The Senate voted 31-1 for the legislation, and the House passed it 96-3. The bill goes into effect July 7.
Carmichael recused himself from the debate on the bill prior to the vote.
Frontier, the state’s largest internet provider, opposed HB 3093, instead supporting the creation of public-private partnerships to improve broadband access.
“Frontier does not comment on personnel matters,” Frontier spokesman Andy Malinoski said Monday.
Carmichael, who spent six-years with Frontier, said he was doing his job when he voted for HB 3093.
“I know that Frontier was lobbying heavily against (the bill),” he said. “My first responsibility is to the people of West Virginia, so I had to do what I felt was right.”
As for his next career move, Carmichael said he is hopeful another opportunity will open up.
“I guess I look forward to working for an institute, company or institution that values personal choice in allowing public servants to serve in a role that benefits all of West Virginia,” he said. “Not just the interests of a particular company.”