CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Longtime state Senate Clerk Darrell Holmes is thinking about reopening his machine shop after he retires.
"I did enjoy working in my shop. After I became clerk full time, I quit doing that. I still have all the enjoyment in that but haven't done anything, so I might get back in the business," Holmes told The Register-Herald.
Holmes, who was first elected as Senate clerk in 1989, is retiring as of Jan. 9. Senate Democrats nominated Sen. Joseph Minard, D-Harrison, to succeed Holmes in their recent caucus.
"I've really enjoyed it," Holmes said.
The Senate Clerk's Office provides assistance to senators and produces the daily Senate journal. As clerk, Holmes oversees 41 full-time employees. During legislative sessions, about 120 part-time secretaries and lawyers are hired.
"I look out for the senators and do whatever they want done," he said.
"The clerk is responsible for helping them any way we can."
When the late U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd was majority leader, he invited Holmes to spend a week in Washington, D.C., to see how things are done in the nation's capital.
"We do a lot on the state level, but it's nothing compared to Washington, D.C. That's another world there," Holmes said.
"At that time, they had 16,000 registered lobbyists, and now they've got 36,000 in Washington," he said.
"We have about 410 in West Virginia."
Before Holmes became the Senate clerk, he served four terms in the House of Delegates and two terms in the Senate, representing Kanawha County.