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Delegate Doug Skaff stepping down as WV House minority leader

By Roger Adkins, HD Media

CHARLESTON, W.VA. — Delegate Doug Skaff, D-Kanawha, will step down as West Virginia House minority leader at the conclusion of next week’s legislative interim meetings on Tuesday.

The Legislature will meet Sunday through Tuesday in Charleston for interims, with the possibility of a special session to address issues that include a critical shortage of correctional officers and an overburdened foster care system looming.

As of Wednesday, Gov. Jim Justice had not issued a special session call.

Skaff, who has served for the past three years in the leadership role, plans to continue as a member at large. He is the president of HD Media, which publishes the Charleston Gazette-Mail, and a member of the West Virginia Press Association’s Board of Directors.

He expressed his gratitude to colleagues for the opportunity to serve as minority leader but said it is time to turn over the reins of leadership to someone else.

“I have enjoyed working with Republican Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw to deliver common sense solutions for the people of West Virginia,” Skaff said in a news release announcing his plans. “In my role as Minority Leader, I worked with Speaker Hanshaw to focus on attracting businesses to our state and creating jobs here as we traveled the country to encourage companies and major corporations to choose West Virginia.”

Skaff said he plans to spend extra time focused on his businesses and coaching his three boys on the soccer field.

HD Media is continuing to grow as more newspapers are being added to its roster, Skaff said.

“I’ve got a lot of things going on with the businesses,” he said. “We’re doing more and more with the newspapers every day.”

Speaking to future political aspirations, Skaff said he is keeping his options open. He said he might run again for the House of Delegates, might seek another office altogether, or he might move away from politics to focus on his family and businesses.

Delegate Sean Hornbuckle, D-Cabell, will assume the role of minority leader immediately following the interim meetings.

“Sean is a strong leader, delegate and friend,” Skaff said. “I know that he will lead the caucus well.”

Skaff added, “He’s a strong leader with a lot of experience and he can connect well with all Democrats, as well as work across party lines to get things accomplished.”

In a released statement, Senate Minority Leader Mike Woelfel, D-Cabell, expressed appreciation for Skaff’s work in the House.

“We have been aligned on important legislation and united in opposition to the far-right extremism coming from some of our colleagues across the aisle,” Woelfel said.

He added that he is enthusiastic about working with Hornbuckle.

“I have known Delegate Hornbuckle for many years. He is a pillar in our community and a man of integrity,” Woelfel said. “Sean’s acumen, character and work ethic are superb. He is bold in action but also pragmatic. His service on behalf of the citizens of Cabell County absolutely merits his elevation to this leadership position.”

Roger Adkins covers politics. He can be reached at 304-348-4814 or email [email protected]. Follow @RadkinsWV on Twitter.

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