"They were not done with the Ds versus the Rs," Thompson said. "What I want to do is have votes out here that are 90-some to three or four. I want consensus."
In his speech, Thompson told delegates, "The education system in West Virginia is on the brink of an overhaul." Afterward, he said he will await specifics on education audit reforms in the governor's legislative agenda.
"It's the governor's audit, and I want to wait and see what the governor proposes," Thompson added, "I think we all want to take bold steps to make the West Virginia education system the best it can be."
Keeping with tradition, House members nominated Thompson and Armstead for speaker, with Thompson elected on a 54-46 vote almost entirely party lines. Following House tradition, Thompson voted for Armstead and vice versa.
Likewise, the Senate elected Kessler on a 25-9 vote over Senate Minority Leader Mike Hall, R-Putnam.
The noon session lasted just over two hours, with the Legislature adjourning until the start of the 60-day regular session, beginning Feb. 13.
The House and Senate also elected clerks, head doorkeepers and sergeant-at-arms for each house Wednesday.
In the Senate, longtime Sen. Joe Minard, D-Harrison, was elected clerk, succeeding retiring Senate clerk Darrell Holmes.
That means Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin will have to appoint a third member to the Senate. He's already appointed Robert "Rocky" Fitzsimmons to replace Orphy Klempa, who was elected to the Ohio County Commission.
Tomblin will also have to name replacements for Minard and Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas, who was elected state agriculture commissioner.
Reach Phil Kabler at ph...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1220.