Tomblin inauguration plans set

CHARLESTON – Organizers hope tomorrow’s inauguration ceremony and related festivities will be all about the Mountain State.

“West Virginia First” will be the theme when Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will take his oath of office after winning his first full term as the state’s chief executive.

“Gov. Tomblin wanted to highlight that which we all know about West Virginians is that they put West Virginia first,” spokeswoman Amy Shuler Goodwin said in a statement.

Tomblin will take the oath of office of Governor as part of the inaugural ceremonies at 1 p.m. Monday on the South Plaza of the State Capitol.

While the weather forecast is for temperatures in the high 40s and a 30 percent chance of scattered showers, those wishing to stay indoors can catch the ceremony online via the governor’s website. Planning also includes satellite access for television broadcasts.

In addition to the governor, the five other statewide executive branch officers elected Nov. 6 will also be sworn in during the ceremony. They include Republican Patrick Morrisey as attorney general and state Sen. Walt Helmick, a Democrat, as agriculture commissioner.

A public reception and receiving line will follow in the Great Hall of the nearby Culture Center.

At 7 p.m. Monday, a black-tie-optional gala will close out the day’s events. Usually held at the Civic Center, this inaugural ball is slated for the Clay Center in downtown Charleston. The Clay Center features an 1,883-seat performance hall, a theater that can seat up to 200, art galleries and a science museum, and organizers plan to use much of the facility’s 240,000 square feet.

There will also be a 2013 Republican Inaugural Reception and Dinner with special guests including Morrisey, State Sen. Mike Hall, Delegate Tim Armstead and newly elected GOP officials with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 5:45 p.m. Monday at the Charleston Marriott Town Center, 200 Lee St. E., Charleston.

Musical acts from around the state will be playing throughout the center, according to organizers. Besides the West Virginia Symphony Brass Quintet, two hail from Charleston: the Ryan Kennedy Trio and jazz pianist Bob Thompson. Organizers have also invited fiddler Adam DeGraff of Lewisburg, Grafton’s Taylor Made, Matt Jones and the Road from Beckley, the Soul Miners of Morgantown, the Davisson Brothers from Clarksburg, Huntington’s City Heat and the Street Players from Tomblin’s native Logan County.

“Having grown up in the Mountain State, Tomblin also wanted to showcase some of our greatest musical talent throughout the state,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin said the gala’s menu will also feature West Virginia favorites. With the ball limited to 2,000 tickets, around 500 will be available to the public at $75 each through the Clay Center box office.

Monday’s festivities will mark Tomblin’s second inauguration in as many years. He narrowly won a 2011 special election to finish the term of now-U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin. About 1,000 people attended that ceremony.

But Tomblin also took part in a scaled-down version of an inauguration in November 2010, one day after Manchin resigned as governor to take the Senate seat that he won in a special election that month.

The West Virginia Constitution calls on the Senate president – Tomblin had held that post for a record 15 years when Manchin stepped down – to act as governor upon such vacancies.

The 2010 event was termed an investiture, featured a special oath crafted for the occasion and was held in the grand foyer. The state constitution sets the date of the inauguration as the first Monday after the second Wednesday of the January following the election.