Del. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, speaks during the West Virginia Legislature’s special session on Aug. 6, 2023. (Will Price | West Virginia Legislative Photography)
The next regular legislative session will be the last for long-time West Virginia lawmaker Mike Caputo, he announced Wednesday.
Caputo, D-Marion, said in a news release he would not run for another term in 2024.
“It has been truly humbling that the people of my region have shown such faith in me all these years, and I have been extremely proud to represent them,” Caputo said in a news release. “I intend to work hard for the 13th Senate District through the end of 2024, but then it’s time for me to close this chapter of my public service.”
Caputo has spent nearly three decades in the Legislature, beginning in 1996 when he was elected to the House of Delegates. He was reelected to the House 12 times and won a seat in the Senate in 2020.
Reached Wednesday, Caputo said the main reason he’s not running again is so he can spend more time with his family, including a 2-year-old grandson and another grandchild on the way.
“My family has been so supportive of me for the last 28 years,” he said. “I just feel like I need to spend some time with them. My wife and I love to travel. We love to ride motorcycles long distances, and we do a lot of that. We just need… some family time.”
He added that it’s time for new energy and ideas in the Legislature.
Caputo said the Democrats being the minority did not play into his decision to leave. He said he respects the decision of the votes, even though he doesn’t agree with the Republican supermajority. Caputo is one of three Democrats in the Senate.
“I think it’s bad for our state, but you know what, I don’t get to hire them,” Caputo said. “If I got to hire legislators, the place would look totally different. They’re elected by the people. And I just totally respect that and just try to do the best I can with it. Keep my values solid and be honest to my constituents. And they’ve elected to send me back, even as the political winds have just totally shifted.”
Caputo’s private career began as a coal miner, then in 1996 he joined the United Mine Workers of America, where he served as International District 31 vice president before retiring in 2018. He remains the vice president of the West Virginia ALF-CIO.
Caputo said he doesn’t have any plans to run for office again as of right now, but “you never say never.”
He announced his plans not to run again early to give people time to consider running to fill his seat.
“Not that they couldn’t have ran against me — I’ve never had an unopposed election, but it gives them time to think… that’s part of the thought process,” he said. “And I wanted to be honest with the public.”
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