Gov. Jim Justice has appointed the wife of his Lottery Commission director to one of the three seats on the state Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities and approves rate increases for West Virginians.
Renee Larrick’s term on the PSC began Saturday, according to a news release issued Monday from the PSC.
Larrick has spent the past 21 years as business manager for her husband’s private law practice in Beckley, which specializes in real estate law.
Her husband, Alan Larrick, a longtime friend of Justice, was named director of the Lottery Commission by the governor in January.
Renee Larrick graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in business and economics, with a concentration on finance, according to the PSC news release. She also has taught at the high school and college levels in Raleigh County, according to the release.
“Renee brings a new, fresh approach to the PSC and I am pleased that she has accepted this position to serve the people of West Virginia,” Justice said in the PSC release. “I am confident she will be a strong advocate for our consumers.”
“I have lived in West Virginia my entire life and it is exciting to be a part of this new era,” Larrick said in the news release. “I will do my best to be a well-informed and dedicated public servant in this role as a PSC commissioner.”
Larrick could not be reached for comment Monday; the Larrick Law Offices in Beckley were closed for the day, according to a recorded message there.
Larrick replaces Kara Cunningham Williams as one of the PSC’s three commissioners. Williams, a former lawyer at Steptoe and Johnson, was appointed by then-Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin in October 2015. She filled a seat that had been vacant for more than nine months and had to be filled if the PSC were to have enough commissioners to handle the investigation into the 2014 Freedom Industries chemical spill that contaminated drinking water throughout the Kanwaha Valley.
The other two PSC commissioners are Chairman Mike Albert and Brooks McCabe.
Albert, who has served on the PSC since 2007, is a former lawyer at Jackson Kelly who focused on public utilities and commercial transactions. His term ends in 2019. McCabe, a commercial real estate developer and former state senator, was appointed to the PSC in 2014. His term is up in 2021.
The PSC news release did not say when Larrick’s term would expire, but full PSC terms last six years.