Committee selects nominees to fill State Senate vacancy

Marlinton, W.Va. –

In November, former State Senator Walt Helmick was elected Commissioner of Agriculture, creating a vacancy in the State Senate.

Governor Earl Ray Tomblin will select one of three nominees to complete Helmick’s two-year unexpired term. Marlinton councilmember Loretta Malcomb is a member of the Democratic Party committee which accepted nominations and selected the three nominees.

“There is always a committee, so when someone leaves office, for whatever reason, this committee is put together and they meet and they vote on a person to fill the spot,” she said. “There are 18 on the committee and we elect a chairman and a secretary to run the meeting, and then you vote on the people who submitted their names and to be considered. We had some phone conversations to decide on a location, and we had just the one meeting to choose the three names.”

The committee, composed of a male and female party member from each county of the former 15th District, met last week to select the three nominees.

Malcomb announces the nominees.

“The three names are: Judge Cookman, from Hampshire County; Thomas Hawse, III, from Hardy County’ and Mike Ross from Upshur County.”

Donald H. Cookman is a lifelong resident of Romney, and has served as a Circuit Judge in the 22nd Judicial Circuit since 1992. Cookman attended WVU on a football scholarship and graduated from the West Virginia College of Law in 1971.

Thomas J. Hawse, III, of Moorefield, is president of Hawse, Inc., a cattle, timber and real estate company. Hawse graduated from WVU in 1968 with a BS degree in accounting and finance. Hawse served in the House of Delegates from 1984-1988 and the State Senate from 1988-1992.

Mike Ross is the president of Ross-Wharton Gas Co. and served in the State Senate from 1992-2004. He was defeated in Senate re-election bids in 2004 and 2008. Following the accidental death of State Delegate Bill Proudfoot in 2009, then Governor Joe Manchin appointed Ross to serve out the one year remaining in Proudfoot’s term, but Ross did not run for election in 2010.

The governor is expected to announce a selection this week.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

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