Though it's been one year since Sen. Robert C. Byrd's death, his presence continues to be felt across the state, especially in the political system.
His death sparked a special election for his seat, with current Sen. Joe Manchin (D) taking over. That led to the current special election for governor between Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin (D), who is acting as governor, and Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney (R).
No matter who wins, the state will hold another election for governor next year. In addtion, Manchin will be up for re-election, since Byrd's last term was due to end in 2012.
Members of West Virginia's congressional delegation have been sharing their thoughts on the anniversary of Byrd's death.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D) said this weekend:
“It’s been one year since we lost our dear friend and colleague, Robert C. Byrd. Thankfully, his legacy carries on in the halls of Congress every day. Senator Byrd will always hold a special place in our collective history – he was a fierce protector of West Virginia and the U.S. Constitution throughout his career. I will always remember him affectionately as a man with great faith and character, whose passion for serving West Virginia touched and inspired us all. Sharon and I have joy in the thought of him reunited with his beloved Erma, and our state will always be grateful for his work on our behalf.”
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R) said yesterday:
“Senator Byrd’s mastery of the Senate and the U.S. Constitution will be remembered for the ages, but those who knew him best realize his legacy will be one of love for the West Virginians he served for nearly 57 years. His legacy is still very much alive in Congress and the Mountain State where colleagues and constituents remember his selfless service. We take comfort in knowing he has joined his beloved Erma in the presence of God.”
Manchin said today:
“One year ago today, the people of West Virginia and our nation lost a beloved pillar in our nation’s history – U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd. Indeed, the senator’s influence stretched well beyond the borders of the Mountain State, and today, we remember a fine statesman and his many contributions.
“As the longest serving member of Congress, we are continually reminded of his historic legacy – a legacy that shaped our state’s infrastructure and improved the lives of so many.
“No one will ever fill Senator Byrd’s shoes; we can only strive to follow in his footsteps. Senator Byrd was a guardian of the U.S. Constitution, and his wisdom serves as a beacon for us all. Even in my short tenure as a U.S. Senator, Senator Byrd’s words and dedication have guided me throughout my time here in the Senate. After much studying and consideration, I found that I share his concerns on the war in Afghanistan and the need to rebuild America, as well as his concern for protecting our Constitutional system of checks and balances.
“Senator Byrd's contributions have inspired us all and they give us an amazing handbook to public service. Like fellow West Virginians, I continue to carry his memory and legacy with me on life’s journey.
“In commemoration of Senator Byrd's 63 years of outstanding public service, I encourage all West Virginians to honor Senator Byrd's legacy by giving back to their communities.”