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As new Senate majority leader, Takubo pledges to reach out to Democrats

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As new Senate majority leader, Takubo pledges to reach out to Democrats
Phil Kabler, Charleston Gazette-Mail

As the newly appointed majority leader of the West Virginia Senate, Sen. Tom Takubo, R-Kanawha, said Monday he wants to bring more bipartisan cooperation to the Legislature’s upper house.

“I think I have a pretty good relationship with Democratic colleagues,” Takubo said. “What I’d like to see is a lot less bickering.”

Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, formally announced the appointment of Takubo, a pulmonary physician in Charleston, as majority leader on Monday. The 84th Legislature begins on Jan. 9, 2019.

“I’m thrilled that Senator Takubo has agreed to step into this critical role in our Senate leadership team,” Carmichael said in a statement. “Tom is greatly respected by both Republican and Democrat members. He has a strong understanding of what we need to do to continue moving West Virginia in the right direction.”

Takubo won election to a second term in the Senate on Nov. 6, defeating Democratic economic development consultant Terrell Ellis with 52.5 percent of the vote.

Under current Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, who lost his re-election bid, the Senate was decidedly more partisan. Ferns, who was a Democrat in the House of Delegates but switched to the Republican Party when he ran for Senate, took the unprecedented step of blocking confirmations of eight gubernatorial appointees in 2016 and 2017 because of their ties to the Democratic Party.

Takubo said he will reach out to Democrats, who will hold 14 of 34 seats in the 84th Legislature, in hopes of finding common ground on legislative priorities for the 2019 regular session.

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