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W.Va. House of Delegates Speaker Hanshaw announces all committee leadership

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – House Speaker Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, today announced the appointment of additional committee and leadership team members for the upcoming 84th Legislature.

Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay

Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan, has been named Speaker Pro Tempore for the House of Delegates. Cowles previously served as House Majority Leader. As Pro Tempore, he will preside over floor sessions should the Speaker not be available, and will also provide input as a member of the House leadership team.

Other members of the House leadership team announced earlier this month include Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor; Assistant Majority Leader Kayla Kessinger, R-Fayette; and Majority Whip Paul Espinosa, R-Jefferson.


Speaker Hanshaw has also appointed committee chairmen and vice-chairmen for the upcoming session.


“Our leadership team is committed to making West Virginia a better place to live, work and raise a family, and we plan to launch a bold agenda to further our state down the path of prosperity,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Our committee leaders will function as autonomous policy directors who will work with the members on their committee to craft bills that will further that agenda.”


Delegate John Shott, R-Mercer, will continue in his role as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee; Delegate Moore Capito, R-Kanawha, will serve as Vice-Chairman.


“John has excelled in this position for the past four years, working diligently to pass key reforms that have reshaped the future of our state,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “His leadership and ability to work with colleagues has made him one of the most respected members of our Legislature – by people on both sides of the aisle.”


Delegate Eric Householder, R-Berkeley, has been named Chairman of the House Finance Committee, of which he previously served as Vice-Chairman. Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood, will serve as Vice-Chairman.


“Now that our state’s budget is turning around, running surpluses instead of deficits, we need to avoid the temptation to grow government and return to the undisciplined spending practices that contributed to our poor fiscal condition of past years,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Eric is committed to making sure our government lives within its means and is not spending the people’s money recklessly, and I know he will succeed in this mission.”


Delegate Danny Hamrick, R-Harrison, will serve as Chairman of the House Education Committee; he previously served as Vice-Chairman of the Committee on Government Organization. Delegate Mark Dean, R-Mingo, will serve as the committee’s Vice-Chairman.


“One of our major priorities this session is to make sure our state’s education system is properly training our younger generations for the high-paying, high-demand jobs available in our state,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “Danny shares this passion to make sure our employers and education leaders are working collaboratively to provide a pipeline from school to work so our young people don’t have to leave West Virginia to find a job.”


Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer, will continue to serve as Chairman of the House Health Committee, while Delegate Jordan Hill, R-Nicholas, will serve as the committee’s Vice-Chairman.


“As a doctor, Joe brings the wisdom and insight to help improve our state’s healthcare system,” Speaker Hanshaw said. “We are committed to doing what we can at the state level to improve access to quality, affordable health care and substance abuse treatment options, including removing unnecessary barriers to entry for new services and making sure our regulatory structure reflects the needs of our modern healthcare economy.”


Delegate Gary Howell, R-Mineral, will continue as Chairman of the Committee on Government Organization; Delegate Jeff Pack, R-Raleigh, will serve as Vice-Chairman.


“Gary is committed to making sure our state government is operating as efficiently as possible and adequately responding to our citizens’ needs, and I know he will continue championing needed reforms as chairman of this committee,” Speaker Hanshaw said.


Delegate Bill Anderson, R-Wood, will also continue as Chairman of the House Energy Committee. Delegate John Kelly, R-Wood, will continue serving as the committee’s Vice-Chairman.


“Bill has helped navigate the House through complicated issues, such as the recent co-tenancy reform legislation, to pass bills that protect land owners while encouraging development in our energy industries,” Speaker Hanshaw said.


Additional committee leaders include:


Agriculture & Natural Resources

·         Agriculture Chairman: Delegate Roy Cooper, R-Summers

·         Natural Resources Chairman: Delegate Jason Harshbarger, R-Ritchie

·         Agriculture Vice-Chairman: Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Mason

·         Natural Resources Vice-Chairman: Delegate Rick Atkinson, R-Roane


Banking & Insurance

·         Banking Chairman: Delegate Eric Nelson, R-Kanawha

·         Insurance Chairman: Delegate Steve Westfall, R-Jackson

·         Banking Vice-Chairman: Delegate Vernon Criss, R-Wood

·         Insurance Vice-Chairman: Delegate Tom Azinger, R-Wood


Enrolled Bills

·         Chairman: Delegate Moore Capito, R-Kanawha

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Rick Atkinson, R-Roane


Fire Departments & Emergency Medical Services

·         Chairman: Delegate Zack Maynard, R-Lincoln

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Buck Jennings, R-Preston


Industry & Labor

·         Chairman: Delegate Tom Fast, R-Fayette

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Patrick Martin, R-Lewis


Interstate Cooperation

·         Chairwoman: Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio

·         Vice-Chairwoman: Delegate Terry Waxman, R-Harrison


Pensions & Retirement

·         Chairman: Delegate Ray Hollen, R-Wirt

·         Vice-Chairwoman: Delegate Dianna Graves, R-Kanawha


Political Subdivisions

·         Chairwoman: Delegate Erikka Storch, R-Ohio

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Daryl Cowles, R-Morgan


Prevention & Treatment of Substance Abuse

·         Chairman: Delegate Matt Rohrbach, R-Cabell

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Ray Hollen, R-Wirt


Rule-Making Review

·         Chairman: Delegate Geoff Foster, R-Putnam

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason


Senior Citizen Issues

·         Chairwoman: Delegate Ruth Rowan, R-Hampshire

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Matt Rohrbach, R-Cabell


Small Business, Entrepreneurship & Economic Development

·         Chairman: Delegate Josh Higginbotham, R-Putnam

·         Vice-Chairman: Delegate Ben Queen, R-Harrison


Veterans Affairs & Homeland Security

·         Veterans Affairs Chairman: Delegate Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock

·         Homeland Security Chairman: Delegate Buck Jennings, R-Preston

·         Veterans Affairs Vice-Chairman: Delegate Jim Butler, R-Mason

·         Homeland Security Vice-Chairman: Delegate Tony Paynter, R-Wyoming


In addition to committee leaders, Speaker Hanshaw has also selected a group of delegates to serve as Assistant Majority Whips. In this role, they will work with Majority Whip Espinosa to help keep members informed of various topics before the House and build consensus on legislation. Each assistant whip will be assigned to a group of members on each major committee to work with them throughout the session.


The following delegates have been named Assistant Majority Whips:

  • Delegate Tom Fast, R-Fayette (Judiciary)
  • Delegate Steve Westfall, R-Jackson (Finance)
  • Delegate Scott Cadle, R-Mason (Government Organization)
  • Delegate Josh Higginbotham, R-Putnam (Education)
  • Delegate Jason Harshbarger, R-Ritchie (Energy)
  • Delegate Matt Rohrbach, R-Cabell (Health)



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