West Virginia Senate: Wikis


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The West Virginia Senate is the upper house of the West Virginia Legislature. There are 17 senatorial districts. Each district has two senators who serve staggered four-year terms. The body is generally considered more conservative than the West Virginia House of Delegates. Democrats and Republicans are more evenly matched in the Senate.

The state's districting system is unique in the United States. The state's most populous county, Kanawha County constitutes two "superimposed" districts. In practical effect, this means that Kanawha County is a single district electing two members every two years. The remaining 54 counties of the state are divided into fifteen districts, with county lines not respected in most cases.[1] Under the unique rule, no district may have more than one senator from the same county[2], no matter the population. This means, for example, that one of the 5th District's two senators must reside in Cabell County and the other must reside in the tiny portion of Wayne County that's inside the 5th District, even though Cabell County has more people than the portion of Wayne County that is part of the 5th District. However, both senators are elected by everybody within the district, not just by the people of the county in which the senators reside.


Senate President

The Senate elects its own president from its membership. As of the 79th West Virginia Senate, Earl Ray Tomblin is Senate President.

While the West Virginia Constitution does not create or even mention the title of lieutenant governor, West Virginia Code 6A-1-4 creates this designation for the Senate President. The Senate President is first in the line of succession to the office of governor. As stated in the constitution: "In case of the death, conviction or impeachment, failure to qualify, resignation, or other disability of the governor, the president of the Senate shall act as governor until the vacancy is filled, or the disability removed." However, the Senate President may not always serve the remainder of the term as the constitution also states: "Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the office of governor before the first three years of the term shall have expired, a new election for governor shall take place to fill the vacancy."



Affiliation Members
  Democratic Party 26 (76%)
  Republican Party 8 (24%)

Leadership of the 79th West Virginia Senate

Position Name Party District County
President of the Senate/Lieutenant Governor Earl Ray Tomblin Democratic 7 Logan Co.
President Pro Tempore William R. Sharpe, Jr. Democratic 12 Lewis Co.
Majority Leader H. Truman Chafin Democratic 6 Mingo Co.
Minority Leader Donald T. Caruth Republican 10 Mercer Co.
Majority Whip Larry J. Edgell Democratic 2 Wetzel Co.
Minority Whip Clark S. Barnes Republican 15 Randolph Co.


District Senator Party County(ies)
1 Edwin Bowman Democratic Brooke, Hancock, Ohio
Jack Yost Democratic
2 Larry J. Edgell Democratic Calhoun, Doddridge, Marion (part), Marshall,
Monongalia (part), Ritchie, Tyler, Wetzel
Jeffrey V. Kessler Democratic
3 Donna J. Boley Republican Pleasants, Roane (part), Wirt, Wood
Frank Deem Republican
4 Karen L. Facemyer Republican Jackson, Mason, Putnam, Roane (part)
Mike Hall Republican
5 Evan Jenkins Democratic Cabell, Wayne (part)
Robert H. Plymale Democratic
6 H. Truman Chafin Democratic McDowell, Mercer (part), Mingo (part), Wayne (part)
John Pat Fanning Democratic
7 Ron Stollings Democratic Boone, Lincoln, Logan, Wayne (part)
Earl Ray Tomblin Democratic
8/17 Dan Foster Democratic Kanawha
Brooks McCabe Democratic
Corey Palumbo Democratic
Erik Wells Democratic
9 Richard Browning Democratic Raleigh, Wyoming (part)
Mike Green Democratic
10 Don Caruth Republican Fayette (part), Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Summers
Jesse O. Guills Republican
11 William R. Laird, IV Democratic Fayette (part), Clay, Nicholas, Upshur, Webster
Randy White Democratic
12 Douglas E. Facemire Democratic Braxton, Gilmer, Harrison, Lewis
Joseph M. Minard Democratic
13 Michael Oliverio II Democratic Marion (part), Monongalia (part)
Roman W. Prezioso, Jr. Democratic
14 David Sypolt Republican Barbour, Grant (part), Mineral (part),
Monongalia (part), Preston, Taylor
Bob Williams Democratic
15 Clark S. Barnes Republican Berkeley, Grant (part), Hardy, Hampshire,
Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Upshur (part)
Walt Helmick Democratic
16 Herb Snyder Democratic Berkeley (part), Jefferson
John Unger Democratic


At the start each new Legislature, standing committees are appointed. The Senate President selects the chairpersons. The Rules of the Senate in the 78th West Virginia Senate call for the following committees to be formed:

The 79th West Virginia Senate will convene in February 2009.


See also

External links

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