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Virginia General Assembly appoints SCC commissioners without opposition

The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday selected two experienced attorneys appointed the day before to fill long-standing vacancies on the state's powerful regulatory commission, which oversees interests ranging from utilities to insurance companies.

Without opposition, both chambers approved the appointments of Sam Towell and Kelsey Baggott to the State Corporation Commission, an independent state agency with several hundred staff members. This law includes regulations for public utilities, insurance, state-owned financial institutions, railways, business notifications, etc. Three commissioners, whose roles will be filled by Towell and Baggott, oversee the agency's operations.

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Both the 2022 and 2023 sessions saw political deadlock over how the then-politically divided General Assembly would fill committee vacancies. After the November election, the Democratic Party took full control of both houses and held a plenary session, giving them room to advance their preferred candidates.

Seen here is the Virginia Corporation Commission meeting held in Richmond, Virginia on May 17, 2022. Lawmakers selected experienced attorneys to fill two vacancies on the committee on January 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Steve Herber, File)

Mr. Baggott was most recently employed by Florida-based energy giant NextEra Energy. She previously worked at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as general counsel to Commissioner Mark Christie, former chairman of the National Corporation Commission. Her six-year term begins April 1.

Mr. Towell most recently worked as in-house counsel for meat producer Smithfield Foods, and previously served as a deputy attorney general for civil litigation in the state Attorney General's Office. He will serve out his unexpired term of approximately four years.

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The Legislature also selected judges for the Court of Appeals, Circuit Court, District Court, Juvenile Court, Family Court, the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission, and the Judicial Review Board, which investigates complaints against judges.

Lawmakers conducted a judicial interview in December. Those elected to six-year terms as district court judges at large included at least two former House of Representatives members, Les Adams of Pittsylvania County and Jeffrey Campbell of Smith County. .

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