- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Fresh off historic state and federal gains this election, West Virginia Republicans are planning to cut some taxes and fight environmental regulations on the coal industry.

On Monday, U.S. Sen.-elect Shelley Moore Capito and other Republican federal and state leaders met privately at the Capitol. They discussed general priorities with the media afterward.

Capito said she will continue pushing to eliminate an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to curb carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. She also wants to keep advocating for congressional approval of many federal agency rules, like the EPA proposal.

The soon-to-be Republican Congress could send both bills to President Barack Obama, who can veto them.

Over the weekend, the GOP picked Sen. Bill Cole of Mercer County to serve as Senate president. Republicans selected current House Minority Leader Tim Armstead of Kanawha County for House speaker.

They haven’t released an agenda yet. Cole and Armstead have both expressed interest in cutting the equipment and inventory tax, for example.

Democrats stuck with current leaders. House Speaker Tim Miley of Harrison County and Senate President Jeff Kessler of Marshall County will be the minority leaders.

For the first time in more than eight decades, Republicans won control of the state House of Delegates and Senate. The next 60-day legislative session starts Jan. 14.

Capito won retiring Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller’s seat, leaving Sen. Joe Manchin the last remaining Democrat from West Virginia in Congress.

“In the best case scenario, we might form a partnership in Washington that will transcend a lot of the other states that have a split delegation, so we can actually get things done,” Capito said.

Republicans swept the state’s three U.S. House seats. They will hold every House seat in West Virginia for the first time since 1921.

Alex Mooney won the seat Capito is vacating. Evan Jenkins defeated 19-term Democratic U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall. And Republican U.S. Rep. David McKinley clinched re-election easily.

The three Republicans joined Capito, Armstead, Cole, GOP Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and other legislative leaders Monday.

The GOP leaders hope to have similar meetings quarterly in Charleston.


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