Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced this morning former Speaker of the House of Delegates Bob Kiss will take over as Cabinet Secretary of the state Department of Revenue.
Kiss starts his new job July 1. He will replace former Revenue Secretary Charles Lorensen, who will become Tomblin’s chief of staff in July. Rob Alsop, who had been Tomblin’s chief of staff, left that job last week to work for Charleston’s Bowles Rice law firm. Tomblin’s legislative director Jason Pizatella will serve as acting revenue secretary until that time, after which he will rejoin the Governor’s Office.
Kiss represented Raleigh and Summers in the House from from 1989 to 2006. He was chairman of the House Finance Committee from 1993 to 1996, before becoming Speaker of the House in 1997. He served in that position until 2006, when he retired from the Legislature.
Tomblin was president of the state Senate throughout Kiss’s time as Speaker.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with Bob during our tenure in the legislature together and know he will, once again, serve the people of West Virginia well in this new capacity,” Tomblin said in a press release. “With his extensive knowledge of tax law, experience as finance chair and then Speaker of the House of Delegates, Bob truly understands the intricate finances of state government and the importance of maintaining our state’s good fiscal standing for the people of West Virginia.”
Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, took over leadership in the House following Kiss’s departure. Thompson also will join the Tomblin administration later this month as Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
Tomblin apparently likes to surround himself with former legislative leaders. He appointed Keith Burdette, his Senate President predecessor, as Cabinet Secretary of the state Department of Commerce in Dec. 2010.
Kiss, a 1979 Ohio State University graduate, recently was a partner at Bowles Rice, specializing in tax, estate planning and commercial law.