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Government

Former W.Va. House Speaker Bob Kiss Has Died

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Courtesy Bowles Rice
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Former W.Va. House Speaker Robert Kiss

Robert “Bob” Kiss, served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1988 until 2006 and he held the position of Speaker of the House from 1997 until 2006. Word of his passing spread Friday night. He was 63.

Kiss was a Raleigh County Democrat.

After leaving the House, Kiss moved to Charleston to work as an attorney for the law firm of Bowles Rice. Later, he was appointed Secretary of Revenue under Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. In 2017, he returned to work at the law firm.

As an attorney, he was recognized in the areas of tax law and trusts and estate law by Best Lawyers in America.

Governor Jim Justice issued a statement about Kiss on Friday. “Cathy and I send our deepest condolences to Speaker Kiss’s family and friends during this difficult time and ask all West Virginians to join us in prayer for them,” Justice said. “Speaker Kiss embodied the West Virginia spirit of devotion to serving others. He was one of the longest serving Speakers of the House in our state’s history, and after that served as Gov. Tomblin’s Secretary of Revenue. During his time in government, he was an integral part of establishing West Virginia’s Rainy Day Fund and also helped establish the School Building Authority and Water Development Council, both of which are now vitally important to government operations.”

Justice said he would issue a proclamation to lower flags to half-staff in Kiss’ honor.

According to his biography on the Bowles Rice website, in the Tomblin administration, Kiss served as the state budget director and the governor's designee for the Board of Treasury Investments, where he served as chairman of the Investment Committee; the Water Development Board; the West Virginia Housing Development Fund; and the Early Childhood Planning Task Force. He was also chairman of the Investment Management Board.

As a legislator, he was extensively involved in more than a decade of major economic and fiscal legislation, including the West Virginia School Building Authority; water and sewer infrastructure development; state tax policy; state health care plans, including PEIA and Medicaid; state retirement systems; the workers' compensation system; and TIF legislation.

Kiss is survived by his wife Melinda and twin sons, Cameron and Carter.


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