Democrats will get to fill vacancies on the powerful State Corporation Commission next month

One of the consequences of Democrats taking control of the General Assembly is that Republicans will have no say in who serves on the State Corporation Commission.

The State Corporation Commission is probably the most powerful government organization you’ve never heard of. It regulates everything from electricity and insurance to railroads and predatory lending. The commission has three members, although two seats are currently vacant. And Republicans and Democrats were unable to agree during the era of divided government. Now, Democrats will get to fill those seats.

“As an environmental organization is making sure that the commission is going to fully implement Virginia’s Clean Economy Act, make sure that our power companies are held accountable to pollution and making sure that power companies don’t gouging ratepayers in your electric bills,” says Mike Town, executive director at the League of Conservation Voters.

Stephen Haner at the Thomas Jefferson Institute says lawmakers are already hard at work trying to line up votes.

“They’re talking about Lynwood Lewis, and Lynwood Lewis was a lawyer legislator and has a business law background. He’d be an excellent choice,” Haner says. “And Chap Petersen would be a fascinating choice, although Chap would be giving up a much more lucrative law practice to do it. So, those are both excellent choices. I just don’t know if they’re going to go there.”

Virginia has a system with a very strong governor who has many powers. But this is not one of them. Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin will have no say in who will be appointed. Democrats will get to fill the positions when the General Assembly session starts next month.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

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