Maroney: Committee assignments should be reconsidered

Obviously, state Sen. Mike Maroney should resign if he is guilty of the prostitution-related charges filed against him in Marshall County — and the sooner, the better.

But Maroney, R-Marshall, enjoys the same protection as any other person: He is innocent until proven guilty. Coming to conclusions about him solely because he is charged with crimes is neither prudent nor fair.

One way or the other, Maroney’s arrest last week will affect tens of thousands of West Virginians. The district he represents in the state Senate includes Wetzel, Tyler, Ritchie, Doddridge and Calhoun counties and parts of Gilmer, Marshall, Marion and Monongalia counties.

Though another senator, Charles Clements, R-Wetzel, represents the district, the Senate is a small body, with just 34 members. Anything affecting one of them has an impact on the whole.

In addition, Maroney holds important committee posts. He is chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee and serves on six other panels.

Whether to replace Maroney on those committees is up to state Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson. Because court proceedings are likely to drag on for months, Carmichael should consider naming a replacement, at least temporarily, for Maroney as chairman of the Health and Human Resources Committee. No one facing serious trouble such as that in which Maroney is involved can serve effectively in a leadership position.

State legislators will begin their 2020 regular session in early January. Interim committee meetings are scheduled in September, October and November. Issues of importance to every Mountain State resident will be discussed and, once the regular session begins, action on them will be debated.

It is no judgment on Maroney’s innocence or guilt to suggest that for the good of the state and, especially, residents of our region, Carmichael should consider making a change in committee assignments.

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