Capito honors outgoing Rep. David McKinley during Senate floor speech

MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito paid tribute to her West Virginia friend and colleague Rep. David McKinley during a Tuesday speech on the Senate floor.

Their friendship extends back many years she said, from when McKinley served in the House of Delegates and then as state GOP chair.

“Although time has gone by, David’s passion and love for West Virginia has never wavered, and his pragmatic service has never changed,” she said.

McKinley was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 and began serving in 2011. But this year, the number of U.S. House seats was trimmed from three to two and McKinley lost the GOP May primary to represent the new 2nd District to fellow Republican Alex Mooney (who went on to win the general election). So this month is his last in D.C.

Capito talked about their long friendship. “He and Mary, his wife, have extended steadfast love and friendship to my entire family, but in particular, my parents in some good times and bad. Those friendships extended for many, many years, and never wavered.”

McKinley achieved something in his first year that she hadn’t during her first 10 in the House, she said: landing a coveted seat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. “So, I was a little bit jealous of David then, but wow, he really did tremendous work on that committee.”

McKinley worked hard and got bills passed, she said. “David has played an essential role in advancing legislation critical to infrastructure, life-altering hearing aid devises, and securing the pensions and retirement benefits that our West Virginia coal miners rely on.”

She used the word “passion” a lot. “David does not do anything halfway. He is passionate about our state of West Virginia, he is passionate about West Virginia University’s football team, and all sports teams, and he is always there, ready to cheer on the Mountaineers. He is passionate about his hometown of Wheeling, and he is a passionate defender of those Northern Panhandlers, which is what I am as well. He is passionate about the men and women who have worked to power our nation and the solutions to our future.”

Capito also credited Mary McKinley for her contributions. “Mary has truly been a partner to David in his work to make West Virginia stronger and healthier.” And she was the national president of the American Association of Critical Care-Nurses. “She epitomizes West Virginia’s warmth and friendliness, and we thank her for her service to our state as well.”

Capito talked about McKinley’s “trademark, tireless devotion” to protecting coal miners. “David has fought tooth and nail for our coal miner’s livelihoods, for their health care, and for their ability to power this nation that sometimes takes for granted their sacrifice.”

Wrapping up, she said. “As David turns the page on this chapter of his life, I am sure this is not the last we will hear from him. I certainly hope not. … His contributions and the example he set will continue to stay with us always.”

In an email exchange, McKinley said in response, “It has been an honor to serve the people of West Virginia in Congress alongside my friend Shelley Moore Capito. We’ve known each other for decades and we share a passion and commitment to service to our great state. I appreciate her friendship and her kind words on the Senate floor today.”

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