By DANYEL VANREENEN
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia state representatives — including new senators and delegates from the Eastern Panhandle — met for the first session of the new legislature Wednesday.
Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, 16, and Rep. Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, 67, are both first time representatives, hailing from the Eastern Panhandle.
Moore said the first day of legislature was a busy time for everyone in Charleston. Moore and Rucker both attended their first meetings for their committee appointments as well. Both representatives said they feel confident about their positions on the committees and look forward to making a difference.
Moore said most of the talk for the first day was centered on the state’s budget crisis and anticipating the governor’s State of the State address Wednesday evening.
“For us new representatives in particular, I think we feel the gravity of the state of affairs in West Virginia,” Moore said.
Rucker said she also felt the pressure of the job.
“I’m very eager to get to work and I’m impatient to dig into the issues and make a difference,” Rucker said. “Everyone is working very hard to do good work though. The experience has exceeded my expectations. All of my questions have been answered and I’ve had lots of help getting everything I need to work in my office.”
In terms of first day results, Rucker said a lot of bills were introduced, but many were bills left over from the last session.
Moore said he introduced several bills as well. One bill he introduced focuses on creating more transparency and oversight during the budget process.
“As of today the bill was well received,” Moore said. “There was bi-partisan support for it, and I feel hopeful.”
Moore also introduced a bill targeting small business start ups in the state. He feels the bill is particularly relevant to Berkeley and Jefferson counties.
“The bill would address new businesses and offer tax credits for the first five years,” he said.
Overall, Moore said he was excited to work with new Governor Jim Justice. Moore hinted austere times might face the state in regards to the budget crisis, the legislature will be working to empower individuals and small businesses to boost the economy.
Rucker agreed moving the state forward was a priority.
“I’m getting my feet wet and overall it has been a very positive experience,”Rucker said. “I’m pleased with my committee appointments and getting to know the other representatives has been great. They’re all great people and I think we’re going to work well together to make a difference in West Virginia.”
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