CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The newly-appointed Democratic delegate in Kanawha County Hollis Lewis went on WCHS Radio’s 580 LIVE Thursday to discuss his new-found legislative position in the House of Delegates.
“It’s a big honor, you know, it’s one of those things where you put your name down, hope you might get it, and when you get it it’s a good feeling to represent communities that I’ve worked in and been in for a while, so it’s an honor,” Lewis said on 580 LIVE Thursday.
Lewis replaces the now resigned democratic Delegate Doug Skaff, stepping into the role with 17 months on the current term.
He also joins the outnumbered party in the house with an 11Democrat to 89 Republican ratio out of a 100-member body. Lewis said the biggest challenge of course, is being a democrat in a majority republican state, but he’s ready to take on that obstacle.
“As far as that is concerned, we just have to state our position, do what we can to advance, not only agendas that we set forward, but represent the people and the best interests of the people,” Lewis said.
Lewis said his plan is to come into the position with a positive attitude of building bridges with the dominating party and not being so adversarial when it comes to getting work done.
He said the biggest lesson he has learned from his work out in the communities is that flexibility is key, as well as simply listening to what people have to say regardless of whether it’s an opposing view or not.
“Not everybody is going to get along, even if you have the same mission, even if you have the same goals, people have different ways they want to go about executing that,” he said.
Lewis said one of the big issues he plans to confront and try to get work done on in office is the problems within the criminal justice system in the state, a matter he has already been passionate about in fixing.
Another democratic member in the House of Delegates and Chair of the West Virginia Democratic Party Mike Pushkin came on 580 LIVE the day before. He said he was happy to see his friend Lewis joining on but sad to see Skaff go.
“Doug said he was stepping down to focus on business and family, I imagine it would be difficult to run HD Media as well as serve the public in the House of Delegates,” said Pushkin. “Doug is also a very good friend, I’ve enjoyed my time serving with Doug and I wish him the best.”
However, Pushkin went on to say that it was a good call on the governor’s part in appointing Lewis to the position.
“He’s a very well-rounded individual and he will be a great addition to the democratic caucus and the House of Delegates, I look forward to serving with him,” Pushkin said.
Lewis said his goal right now is to simply just get in and get an idea of the current landscape of the House of Delegates as it stands with such disproportionate numbers.
“I’m going to figure out what we can do and figure out how we can influence things maybe that’s not all our agenda, things that we obviously can’t do to the extent that we would like to just because we’re at such a disadvantage as far as numbers are concerned, but I think there’s ways to influence even those things that we couldn’t fully flesh out,” Lewis said.
A Charleston native, Lewis is a graduate of Criminal Justice from West Virginia State University. He then went on to attend law school at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He has held various positions throughout the community since 2013, including one as Kanawha County Magistrate, a member of the West Virginia Parole Board, an adjunct professor at WVSU, as well as serving on the Charleston Area Alliance.
As of Thursday Lewis couldn’t say for certain of the exact date of when he would be getting officially sworn in to the House of Delegates, but he did say that it should be very soon.