CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Two longtime leaders in West Virginia’s Legislature from different political parties today confirmed that they are not running again, with both citing a degradation of political discourse.
Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, and House Judiciary Chairman John Shott, R-Mercer, each separately confirmed that they are stepping aside from the Legislature.
They join other legislative leaders such as Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, and Senate Minority Whip Corey Palumbo, who also described the political climate as major factors in decisions to not run for re-election.
Miley, speaking to MetroNews, said he wants to spend more time in his community with his law practice. He did not rule out staying in politics or running for future office.
But Miley also said outside money has gained too much influence and that leaders often pay lip service to the real challenges faced by the state. He said that has become frustrating.
“I don’t know when the time is going to come, but I believe there is going to be a need for all of the leaders in this state — and that means elected officials at all levels, business leaders, labor leaders and media leaders — to come together and recognize that we cannot continue playing politics in a state this small and one that has so many inherent obstacles to overcome,” he said.
“All we risk doing is further alienating people from coming here and continuing to drive people away from here.”
Shott, when asked about his own political plans during an appearance on MetroNews’ “Talkline,” also confirmed that he does not plan to run again.
He was elected to the House of Delegates in 2008, then was appointed to an open seat in the state Senate in 2010, and then ran again for the House, where he has served since. Shott was named Judiciary Chairman in 2015, after Republicans gained the majority.
Today, Shott described wanting to spend more time with family, but also described concerns about the current tone of politics.
“I’ve certainly enjoyed the challenge, but I’m sick and tired of the games and the posturing and the political ambushes that go on,” he said. “It just wears down on you.”
Shott responded to Miley’s announcement by describing respect for the minority leader.
“I regret that Tim’s leaving,” Shott said. “Tim is a real gentleman. He’s a moderate voice and very effective spokesman for the position he has. I consider him a friend, and I hate that he’s leaving. He’s certainly served his district well over the years.”
Miley was first elected to the House of Delegates in 2004. For much of that time, Democrats had the majority in the House of Delegates.
Miley served as chairman of the powerful Judiciary Committee and then became Speaker of the House in 2013.
When Miley was naming the majority’s leadership team that year, he publicly cautioned that the post could be finite.
“These appointments are for one year only and we need to get to the next election and, if the Democrats maintain the majority, and if I remain as Speaker, then I will have the opportunity to make any and all changes should the need become necessary,” Miley said in 2013.
When Republicans flipped both legislative chambers in 2014, Miley became minority leader and has served in that position since then.
Now he’s ready to walk away.
“I’m 99 percent certain I’m not going to run,” he said.