West Virginia’s governor selects a senator
WASHINGTON — Carte Goodwin, a 36-year-old lawyer, will be sworn in Tuesday as U.S. senator from West Virginia, replacing the late Sen. Robert Byrd.
Gov. Joe Manchin on Friday announced the appointment of Goodwin, his former chief legal counsel, until a special election can be held.
Byrd, who died June 28, was 92 and the longest-serving senator in U.S. history. Goodwin will become the youngest current senator.
Goodwin, a Democrat, will give the party control of 59 seats. Fifteen minutes after he’s scheduled to be sworn in, Senate Democrats will try to end debate on a plan to provide extended unemployment benefits to workers. They fell one vote short two weeks ago.
While Goodwin seems likely to help the Democrats break that stalemate, he sounded less open to a comprehensive energy bill than Byrd did. Goodwin criticized energy legislation that 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,” Goodwin said.
Coal mining is a major industry in West Virginia, and many fear it won’t thrive under the energy bill.
Senate Democrats signaled recently that they were looking to pass a more modest energy measure.
Goodwin was counsel to Manchin from 2005 to 2009, and he was chairman of the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Judicial Nominations. He also led the West Virginia School Building Authority and was a member of the State Consolidated Public Retirement Board.
“Carte understands the legislative process and has written legislation. He understands the importance of bringing people together in order to bridge differences,” Manchin said.