CHARLESTON, W.V. (LOOTPRESS) – During the first day of the 2021 West Virginia legislative session on Jan. 13, Delegate Mick Bates (D-Raleigh) surprised his fellow delegates by casting his speaker vote for current House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) over House Minority Leader Doug Skaff Jr. (D-Kanawha).
On the first day of the legislative session, both the Republicans and the Democrats nominate one person to act as House Speaker for the duration of that legislative term. This year, Democrats nominated Skaff, while Republicans renominated Hanshaw, who has served as speaker for the previous two years during the 84th Legislature.
The vote for Speaker of the House is normally a party-line vote- a vote in which a substantial majority of members of a political party vote the same way.
As a Democrat, Bates broke party lines in order to vote for Hanshaw.
Bates’ out-of-the-ordinary vote for a Republican delegate could signal significant dissension in the Democratic ranks, especially with Bates’ vote against Skaff coming after the pair’s difficult race for Minority Leader- a race where Skaff came out on top.
Bates spoke with Lootpress, explaining his reasoning behind the vote.
“For me, it is about the right person at the right time for the right job.”
With the discord surrounding the Capitol, Bates said now is the time to put politics aside and work together.
“I wanted to look at who was the best person for the job. Its nothing against Skaff or the Democratic party. It is time for us to come together and make sure we work together. I intend to work with my Democratic colleagues, as well as the Republican majority.”
Hanshaw was reelected as Speaker of the House following Wednesday’s vote.