By BERNIE BECKER, The New York Times
WASHINGTON â€” West Virginiaâ€™s governor,Â Joe Manchin III, announced on Friday that he had chosen Carte P. Goodwin, his former general counsel, to temporarily fill the Senate seat long held byÂ Robert C. Byrd.
Mr. Goodwin, 36, will serve until a special election is held, which will probably be later this year. Mr. Manchin has expressed interest in being a candidate in that race.
At an event announcing his appointment in Charleston, Mr. Goodwin said it would be impossible to fill the shoes of Mr. Byrd, a Democrat who died last month after serving more than a half-century in the Senate.
â€œBut what I can do, and what I will do, is try my best to emulate his work ethic and his commitment to the law, the Constitution and this great state,â€ said Mr. Goodwin, who will become the youngest member of the Senate.
Mr. Goodwin will also be the 59th member of the Senateâ€™s Democratic caucus, joining it just days after Democrats struggled to cobble together the votes needed to pass an overhaul of financial regulations.
SenatorÂ Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, said Thursday that the new senator would be sworn in on Tuesday, after which the Senate is expected to approve a long-stalled extension of unemployment benefits.
While Mr. Goodwin seems likely to help the Democrats break that stalemate, he sounded less open in general to a comprehensive energy bill than Mr. Byrd did in his final months and criticized energy legislation the House passed last year.
â€œYou donâ€™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,â€ Mr. Goodwin said.
Senate Democrats and the White House signaled recently that they were looking to pass a more modest energy measure.
The member of a prominent West Virginia family, Mr. Goodwin now works as a lawyer in Charleston, after serving as Mr. Manchinâ€™s general counsel from 2005 to 2009. His wife, Rochelle, is the state director forÂ John D. Rockefeller IV, a Democrat who holds West Virginiaâ€™s other Senate seat.
At the Friday announcement, Mr. Manchin, a Democrat in his second term as governor, indicated that Mr. Goodwinâ€™s experience in his administration helped persuade him to make the appointment. â€œIâ€™ve worked shoulder to shoulder with him for four years,â€ Mr. Manchin said. â€œI know the man. I know that West Virginia is better off because heâ€™s passed this way.â€
To read more, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/17/us/politics/17wva.html
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