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Fired-up Democrat seeks ‘sense of buyer’s remorse’

Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman Sen. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, center, stands with Sens. John Unger, D-Berkeley, from left; Jack Yost, D-Brooke; and Ron Stollings, D-Boone, during a moment on the Senate floor. Kessler, now the Senate Minority Leader, sees himself as a vocal advocate for what his party stands for and has made several fiery speeches on the chamber floor in response to bill being pushed by the Republicans.
Charleston Daily Mail photo by Tom Hindman
Sen. Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, center, stands with Sens. John Unger, D-Berkeley, from left; Jack Yost, D-Brooke; and Ron Stollings, D-Boone, during a moment on the Senate floor. Kessler, now the Senate Minority Leader, sees himself as a vocal advocate for what his party stands for and has made several fiery speeches on the chamber floor in response to bill being pushed by the Republicans.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With the end of the current Legislative session in sight, Sen. Jeff Kessler seems to be further honing in on a role that he’s never had before: a vocal minority leader.

Kessler, D-Marshall, who is a Pittsburgh Pirates fan, equated being in the minority to a baseball reality.

“You’re like the Chicago Cubs — you’re never going to win a pennant,” he said.

But Kessler and his fellow Democrats still are celebrating minor victories, even if they are only temporary.

Last week, Kessler, along with Sens. John Unger, D-Berkeley, and Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, made several procedural moves to try to slow the agenda of the majority party.

Kessler tried to halt the charter schools bill when it appeared in the Senate Finance Committee. But his move was undone when the bill was discharged from the committee by its chairman, Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, which gave the bill new life.

Although he was disappointed, Kessler said he was under no illusion that Republicans would not be able to overcome his move.

But he did the move as part of a larger effort to further define his current role. The minority leader sees himself as a vocal advocate for what the Democratic party stands for and said it’s why their agenda is more appealing than the one being advanced by Republicans.

Throughout the session, Kessler has made fiery speeches on the chamber floor and in committees, in response to bills being pushed by the majority party.

“My role is to try to energize people to get more active in politics now that they’ve seen that elections do have outcomes,” he said.

Kessler said he’s voicing opposition, when necessary, in order to get people to realize the effects that will be felt as a result of Republicans’ attempts to advance a legislative agenda that includes the creation of charter schools and changes to the state’s prevailing wage law.

“My goal as much as anything is to build a sense of buyer’s remorse…

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