CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — The West Virginia House of Delegates will honor former Speaker Robert Kiss Thursday night before Gov. Jim Justice delivers his State of the State address.
Kiss spent a decade as speaker of the West Virginia House of Delegates and later served as state Department of Revenue secretary. He died in November of cancer at age 63.
Kiss’ family, colleagues and friends will gather to celebrate his contributions to the state in the House chamber before Justice’s presentation at 7 p.m. The events will be broadcast on the West Virginia House of Delegates’ YouTube account and by West Virginia Public Broadcasting.
A Raleigh County Democrat, Kiss served in the House of Delegates from 1989 until 2007, including his final 10 years as speaker.
He later spent more than three years under Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as secretary of the Department of Revenue, which oversees both tax collections and budget planning. Kiss also was a member of a Charleston law firm.
During his time in the House, Kiss was among a crop of state leaders who began to tackle state debts and funding gaps. He supported measures shoring up the pension fund for teachers, privatizing the state-run workers’ compensation system and gradually cutting taxes on groceries and corporate net income, among other initiatives. Kiss also championed proposals targeting insurance rates and prescription drug costs during his tenure.