Dave Mistich Published

Espinosa Returning as House Education Chair for Special Session, Fills Vacancy Left by Hamrick

In this Jan. 19, 2019 phot, Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson) speaks on the floor of the House of Delegates.

A West Virginia lawmaker who once chaired the House Education Committee will return to that role for an upcoming special session.

Del. Paul Espinosa (R-Jefferson), who has been serving as Majority Whip for the Republican-led House of Delegate, will the fill vacancy for the top seat on the House Education Committee. He said House Speaker Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay) alerted him of the appointment ahead of a Sunday evening conference call with their caucus.

Espinosa will continue to serve as Majority Whip and the appointment to the education committee will be on an interim basis. 

Del. Danny Hamrick (R-Harrison) stepped down as chair last week because of a relationship with a female legislative intern.

The House and Senate are expected to reconvene this month for a special session focused on education. 

Espinosa voted in favor of the failed education omnibus Senate Bill 451 during the regular session, which included provisions such as charter schools and education savings accounts.

He said the Republican majority is actively engaging their members to determine interest in those proposals ahead of the special session.

“I believe we can certainly — or at least I am hopeful — we can enact legislation that includes some modest school choice provisions,” Espinosa said by phone Monday. 

American Federation of Teachers-West Virginia President Fred Albert said in a news release that he may not always agree with Espinosa, but the Jefferson County delegate is “knowledgeable and experienced.”