Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin finally can drop the "acting" from his title.
Tomblin, a Democrat from Logan County, was sworn in Nov. 13 as the state's 35th governor after serving a year as acting governor. The long-time legislator assumed that role by virtue of being state Senate president when former Gov. Joe Manchin vacated that seat for the U.S. Senate after the death of Robert C. Byrd. Manchin spoke at the inauguration, saying Tomblin was a vital part of the Manchin administration.
"We didn't always agree, but we always put our state first," Manchin said. "One of the people who made this team so strong was Earl Ray Tomblin — a true public servant who will take our state into the future."
Manchin said Tomblin is the "right leader at the right time" for West Virginia, and he believes Tomblin will continue to be fiscally conservative and maintain the state's balanced budget.
That success is something Tomblin touted during the election and in his inaugural address.
"Our state budget is not just balanced — we continue to have a budget surplus," he said. "Our credit rating is higher than it has been in decades, and our Rainy Day fund is the envy of the nation."
During the past year, Tomblin put forward legislation to eliminate the food sales tax and cut taxes for businesses. He also said he will continue to work to bring national companies to West Virginia. Companies such as Macy's and Amazon.com already have locations here.
Deborah Phillips of Putnam County said she supports Tomblin because of that fiscal conservatism. She said she hopes he continues to lead like he has for nearly 40 years.
"He's a very stable individual who makes good sound decisions of the fiscal nature," she said. "I think he's done an excellent job as it relates to state government in these very trying economic times, and he will continue on that posture."
West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Margaret Workman administered the oath of office. Before taking the oath, Tomblin officially resigned both his post as Senate president and senator from the 17th district. A committee from that district is expected to select a replacement soon.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. sang the national anthem. The fellow Logan County resident won this fall's "America's Got Talent" television competition.
Before the ceremony, Tomblin took the oath privately after the Legislature met and declared him the winner of last month's special election.