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West Virginia Senate refuses to confirm former Freedom Rider


The Register-Herald

The West Virginia Senate Committee on Confirmations has dramatically altered course from its previous task of serving as a “rubber stamp” for gubernatorial appointments.

Earlier this month, the committee surprised many when it rejected a dozen of Gov. Jim Justice’s appointees for various boards and commissions. That action was simply a signal of the new attention to detail in its responsibility to “advise and consent” to those appointments, according to Senate Majority Leader Ryan J. Ferns, R-Ohio.

“The committee was not active in the past, except for politically-motivated reasons,” said Ferns, the confirmation committee’s vice chair. “We’re really trying to do our job as defined in State Code.”

Caught up in the committee’s about-face was Ronceverte resident Joan Browning, whose appointment to the West Virginia Human Rights Commission (HRC), announced last summer, was among those rejected for confirmation.
A 1960s Freedom Rider and former HRC member who is well known in the local community for her social justice activism, Browning was shocked by the committee’s action.

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