Tom Clark welcomed as newest House member, Del. Larry Rowe honors Dr. Martin Luther King during Monday floor session

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Members of the House of Delegates, on Monday, began their first full week in Charleston  by welcoming the newest among them. 

Business owner and former Webster County Commission President Tom Clark was appointed by Gov. Jim Justice, on Friday, to the seat former Republican Delegate Caleb Hanna vacated upon his resignation two weeks ago. Clark, who took the oath of office Monday morning before the beginning of the House’s floor session, will serve parts of Nicholas, Webster, and Greenbrier Counties. 

Del. Tom Clark, R-Nicholas, sworn in Monday as the newest member of W.Va.’s House of Delegates.

In other business, The House Judiciary Committee reported that they have completed review and debate of two bill proposals – HB 4252, and the committee substitute for HB 4190 – and offered a recommendation of passage for both. If enacted, HB 4252, proposed by Del. Brandon Steele, R-Raleigh, would establish the uniform recognition and enforcement of Canadian Domestic Violence protective orders. HB 4190, proposed by Del. Daniel Linville, R-Cabell, seeks to establish an alert system for missing cognitively impaired individuals. 

Two bills were also advanced to second reading: HB 4274, which seeks to rename the state’s reorganized Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR); and HB 4433, which seeks to exempt the “acquisition and utilization of a mobile facility which performs mammography or low-density computerized tomography.”

Prior to recessing for the day’s scheduled committee meetings, Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, spoke briefly in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Today is an important day,” Rowe began. “It’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Day, and it commemorates the life of who I think is the most important individual of the 20th Century.”

Del. Larry Rowe, D-Kanawha, speaks in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the House Chamber on Monday.

“I step back from that and I thought, ‘Well. Franklin Roosevelt gave us social security, and focused us on the needs of seniors,’” Rowe continued. “Teddy Roosevelt saved the Grand Canyon. If you’ve seen that – that’s pretty special. But what Dr. King did was to secure for about 10% of our population, African Americans, equality that had been promised to them for over 400 years as a part of the American creed.”

“He eliminated segregation which divided the races and caused terrible, terrible effects after the Civil War,” Rowe noted. “It took many years to overcome those, even after segregation was ended. But he really represents the best of what America can be. He dedicated his life to it – his life was taken because of it – and we are, today, privileged to sit in this body and recognize a man of great, great value to this country.”

At the conclusion of Rowe’s remarks, all House members observed a moment of silence in honor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

RealWV will provide continual updates throughout the 2024 Legislative Session. 

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