Former Freedom Rider Rejected by WV Senate Committee to Serve as WV Human Rights Commissioner

Greenbrier County

     A former Freedom Rider and Civil Rights Activist’s appointment to serve on the West Virginia Human Rights Commission was rejected by by the West Virginia Senate Committee.

Joan Browning could was in disbelief when she was informed she would not be approved to be a West Virginia Human Rights Commissioner. 

“This is not believable this is just, this can’t be; I can’t imagine what they would want for a human rights commissioner if they wouldn’t want me,” Browning said. 

Those were former freedom rider and civil rights activist, Joan Brownings first thoughts when she learned the West Virginia Senate Committee on Confirmations rejected her appointment to continue to serve on the West Virginia Human Rights Commission. 

Senator Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier, said he thought Browning was a great choice. 
“Who better in West Virginia to serve on the Human Rights Commission than Joan Browning. She’s a former Freedom Rider, so I was very surprised by their decision to pull her from confirmations,” Baldwin said. 
The Committee asked Browning to attend a hearing which she was unable to make in early January due to a winter weather advisory, which she believes led them to reject her nomination.   

“I wrote and said I’d be delighted to come and tell you about the good work of the Humans Rights Commission but let me come when the roads are more passable,” Browning said. 

Senator Ryan Burns said Browning was among a dozen people set for confirmation that day, and that the committee was already up against a deadline to confirm candidates.

But Senator Stephen Baldwin said the months she had already served on the commission should have made a difference in her nomination.

“She’d been serving on the commission for I think five or six months, so if there were questions I don’t know why they had to wait til the very last minute,” Baldwin explained. 
Now that Browning’s nomination has been rejected, Senator Baldwin, who is not a member of the confirmations committee, said he does not believe she has another chance at joining the Commission.   
“Once the senate does not confirm a governors appointment she’s not eligible again, and again I hate that because I think she’s a perfect choice,” Baldwin said. 

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