BOONE COUNTY — Sen. Dr. Ron Stollings and Del. Josh Holstein recently spoke to Coal Valley News about October’s special session of the West Virginia State Legislature and positive movements within their districts.
The primary function of the special session was to vote on congressional maps for the U.S. Congress. Several maps were offered, examined and eventually voted on.
During the session, lawmakers adopted a House of Delegates district map that includes 100 single-member districts, a Senate map that maintains 17 Senate districts and a US Congressional map that splits West Virginia into north and south districts.
Some of the maps divided the Mountain State east to west, but it was the north-to-south map that pulled the popular vote.
The 17-district map passed on a 31-2 vote after the start of the Senate’s floor session was delayed several times.
The approved map splits 11 of West Virginia’s 55 counties, down from the current configuration of 13 splintered counties — with a map previously approved by the redistricting committee that didn’t make the final cut dividing seven counties.
“At one point, the redistricting for Boone County had me going over to Raleigh, Wyoming and McDowell (counties) and over into Logan, Boone, Kanawha and Fayette,” Stollings said. “If you look around the coalfield areas, those were the areas that were controversial. At the end of the day, the work of (Senate redistricting committee chairman) Charlie Trump and (Majority Leader) Tom Takubo made a difference. I was able to express myself and they listened to me. They came back with this thing that kept Boone together and Lincoln and Logan all intact. I will go into southern Kanawha County and pick up Marmet, Chesapeake. It makes sense to me.”
In his 16th year in the senate, Stollings plans to run again for his District 7 seat. His current term ends on Dec. 1, 2022.
Stollings ran for governor of West Virginia and lost in the Democratic primary on June 9, 2020.
Representing Boone County in the House of Delegates, Holstein spoke about the second special session in June and what he sees as positive movement in Boone County.
“We funded a lot of things,” he said. “There was the massive $100 million road package that was sorely needed. We saw part of Route 85 and Route 3 paved directly from that package along with the slip up on Drawdy Mountain.”
Holstein expressed his approval of redistricting efforts, including amendments that reduced the amount of Kanawha County in the district and kept Boone, Lincoln and Logan counties intact.
“I was pleased that southern West Virginia wasn’t broken up,” he said. “There was a lot of back-and-forth going on, but in the end, that is how things get done. A lot of time and effort went into this.”
Representing District 23, Holstein assumed office on Dec. 1, 2020. His current term ends on Dec. 1, 2022, and he plans to run for his seat once again.
In the new map, West Virginia is divided up into 17 different districts. Of the 55 counties, 11 are split between two districts. Kanawha is the only county broken intro three different districts.