Bridgeport's Ben Queen to Take Oath of Office Friday as Youngest Senator in West Virginia Legislature


SUBMITTED TO CONNECT-BRIDGEPORT

 

Next week marks a new beginning for a local entrepreneur elected in November to become one of just 34 members of the West Virginia State Senate.  On Jan. 11, the West Virginia Legislature goes into session and Bridgeport resident Ben Queen is up for the challenge of representing his generation and the 12th Senatorial District.

 

He was just 13 years old in 2008 when he started his first business – Ben Queen Photography.  It was later that same year that the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce named him as their “Young Entrepreneur of The Year.”

 

So, the name Ben Queen isn’t a new one for the residents of Harrison County.  And his photography business has earned respect and accolades throughout the state over the last 14 years.  Ben Queen Photography provides sports and event photography for numerous national, statewide and local media outlets including USA Today, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and the West Virginia University Athletic Department.

 

In 2016, the Bridgeport resident was elected to his first of three terms in the 100-member West Virginia House of Delegates.  At that time, Delegate Queen was just 21 years old and a student at West Virginia University.  He was easily re-elected in 2018 and in 2020. 

 

Because of his keen interest in the legislative process, over the last six years Queen was selected to serve in a number of important leadership positions.  He has been a conservative member of the House Judiciary Committee for six years.  Because of his interest in entrepreneurship and business, Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw selected Queen (who was 25 at the time) to serve as Chairman of the House Committee on Economic Development & Small Business. He served on a number of other committees including Co-Chairman of the Interim Committee on Technology.

 

Youth, it seems, has not been a problem for Queen. On Jan. 10, State Senator-Elect Queen will move on to a new set of challenges when he finds himself as the youngest senator of the 34-member West Virginia State Senate.

 

According to the West Virginia Constitution, a West Virginia resident must be at least 25 years old to serve in the State Senate.  Queen is 27.

 

Queen will succeed State Senator Mike Romano who did not run for re-election.  He will represent the new 12th Senatorial District that includes Harrison, Taylor, Lewis, Gilmer, and Calhoun Counties.

 

“I’ve spent the last six years learning the legislative process and being part of the solution,” Queen said. “I don’t participate in tearing others down.  I want to build up my state, my colleagues, and my district.

 

“When I first arrived in Charleston in 2017, we were facing a $400 million deficit.  Those were difficult times with tough decisions having to be made,” he continued. “Budget cuts were made across the board then pro-business policies were put into place.”

 

“This year we’re expecting a budget surplus of more than $1.3 billion.  That doesn’t just happen.  We made tough decisions six years ago so we can enjoy a strong and growing economy in 2023 and beyond.”

 

Last week, Senate President Craig Blair appointed Queen to serve as Vice Chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and a member of the Senate’s Government Organization Committee.  Queen will also be a member of the Committee on Economic Development, the Committee on Banking & Insurance, and the Committee on Pensions.

 

Senator-elect Queen will take his oath of office at 4:30 p.m. this Friday, Jan. 6, at the Harrison County Courthouse in the courtroom of Judge Thomas A. Bedell.  The ceremony is open to the public.

 

Editor’s Note: Top photo show Ben Queen addressing the West Virginia House of Delegates, while he’s shown below with Gov. Jim Justice, center, and Mayor Andy Lang, left, during a groundbreaking ceremony at the North Central West Virginia Airport. First photo by Will Price, West Virginia Legislature.


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