West Virginia Governor Picks Ex-General Counsel to Succeed Byrd

By BERNIE BECKER, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — West Virginia’s governor, Joe Manchin III, announced on Friday that he had chosen Carte P. Goodwin, his former general counsel, to temporarily fill the Senate seat long held by Robert C. Byrd.

Mr. Goodwin, 36, will serve until a special election is held, which will probably be later this year. Mr. Manchin has expressed interest in being a candidate in that race.

At an event announcing his appointment in Charleston, Mr. Goodwin said it would be impossible to fill the shoes of Mr. Byrd, a Democrat who died last month after serving more than a half-century in the Senate.

“But what I can do, and what I will do, is try my best to emulate his work ethic and his commitment to the law, the Constitution and this great state,” said Mr. Goodwin, who will become the youngest member of the Senate.

Mr. Goodwin will also be the 59th member of the Senate’s Democratic caucus, joining it just days after Democrats struggled to cobble together the votes needed to pass an overhaul of financial regulations.

Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Thursday that the new senator would be sworn in on Tuesday, after which the Senate is expected to approve a long-stalled extension of unemployment benefits.

While Mr. Goodwin seems likely to help the Democrats break that stalemate, he sounded less open in general to a comprehensive energy bill than Mr. Byrd did in his final months and criticized energy legislation the House passed last year.

“You don’t have to live too far from earshot of any radio or newspaper to know how strongly West Virginians feel about that issue, and how important it is that we protect our economy and protect our jobs,” Mr. Goodwin said.

Senate Democrats and the White House signaled recently that they were looking to pass a more modest energy measure.

The member of a prominent West Virginia family, Mr. Goodwin now works as a lawyer in Charleston, after serving as Mr. Manchin’s general counsel from 2005 to 2009. His wife, Rochelle, is the state director for John D. Rockefeller IV, a Democrat who holds West Virginia’s other Senate seat.

At the Friday announcement, Mr. Manchin, a Democrat in his second term as governor, indicated that Mr. Goodwin’s experience in his administration helped persuade him to make the appointment. “I’ve worked shoulder to shoulder with him for four years,” Mr. Manchin said. “I know the man. I know that West Virginia is better off because he’s passed this way.”

To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/us/politics/17wva.html

No comments yet - you can be the first!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.