Senator Robert Byrd

Senator Robert Byrd (Democrat), age 92, passed away early this morning at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Byrd was the longest serving member of the U.S. Congress. Flags on Capitol Hill were lowered to half staff as a tribute to Byrd. The quietly circulating question in Washington is, “What will become of Byrd’s senate seat?” Show a little respect already.
Senator Robert Byrd
Byrd was the longest serving U.S. Senator and a Democrat of West Virginia. Governor Joe Manchin III of West Virgina, also a Democraft, inherits the duty of selecting an interim successor to Senator Robert Byrd. Out of respect for Senator Byrd and his family, no announcements regarding the seat are expected today or anytime this week. The governor commented that, “To the people of West Virginia, we have suffered a terrible loss.”

The debate is already underway regarding whether the seat will be up for grabs or not. Democrats are of the mind the filing deadline for the November election has passed, so the interim appointee should complete Byrd’s current term, which is through January 3, 2013. The Republicans, however, believe the laws of West Virginia allow for a special election to be held based on the fact that more than 2-1/2 years remain on Byrd’s Senate term. Byrd, who worked as a gas station attendant, grocery clerk, shipyard welder (WW II), and butcher, won a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in 1946 and rose to be an influential Washington figure; he will be sorely missed.

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