CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The State of the State Address the Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will deliver at the Capitol on Wednesday night to open the 2015 legislative session will be his fourth since moving into the Governor’s Office but his first since Republicans gained majorities in both the state Senate and state House of Delegates.
Chris Stadelman, Tomblin’s director of communications, told MetroNews the speech—which usually includes reflections on accomplishments during the past year, legislative proposals for the upcoming session and assessments of West Virginia’s current condition—is a high-pressure one.
“(It’s) one time a year, all eyes in the state, certainly all eyes that follow politics and are involved in decision-making in the legislative process and issues, all eyes are on you,” Stadelman said. “It’s his stage for 45 minutes and his stage alone.”
Tomblin has been practicing the speech in recent days at the Governor’s Mansion.
He knows well how the Legislature works. Prior to his appointment as Acting Governor in 2010 and his election to the office in 2011 and again in 2012, Tomblin served as Senate President for nearly 17 years, longer than anyone else in West Virginia’s history.
Before he was first elected to the Senate in 1980, Tomblin was a member of the state House of Delegates — the chamber he will return to for his State of the State Address on Wednesday night.
“Gov. Tomblin served in the Legislature under both Gov. (Arch) Moore and Gov. (Cecil) Underwood who were in a similar position, (Republicans) working with a strong majority on the opposite side of the aisle and he had success with that and, I think, he certainly anticipates having success with this Legislature as well,” Stadelman said.
“There certainly are places where everyone can find common ground and put West Virginia first.”
The 2015 legislative session runs for 60 days from Wednesday until Saturday, March 14.
MetroNews will provide coverage of Tomblin’s address beginning at 7 p.m. Wednesday night on the air and online. The official hashtag for the State of the State address, according to the governor’s office, is #WVSOTS15.