CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Kanawha County Commission has a new president for the first time in more than 20 years.

Lance Wheeler

The commission chose Lance Wheeler at its meeting Thursday night. The motion came from Kent Carper who has been the president every year since 2003.

“We’ll have some serious challenges this year, especially with the legislature, and there’s no one better to lead the commission in my judgment this year than Commissioner Lance Wheeler,” Carper said.

Commissioner Ben Salango seconded the motion. He said Carper’s time as president is unmatched.

“You have spent a tremendous amount of time serving as president, the amount of additional work that goes on with being president,” Salango said.

Salango added that Carper has asked him for the past 7 years if he wanted to be president but he turned him down.

Wheeler, a Republican, said the commission would continue to operate as it has.

Kent Carper

“This commission has always ran as transparent, as efficient, in doing what is in the best interest of the county and its citizens,” Wheeler said. “I will say that nothing today has changed. We will continue those values and traditions. The only thing that has changed today is the seating arrangements.”

Wheeler is a St. Albans native. He was elected in 2020.

Carper continues to serve on the commission just not as president.

The move comes as Carper remains under investigation after an alleged lewd incident that happened last May at Daniel Boone Park in Charleston.

A special prosecutor was appointed to review the allegations made against Carper by a woman who was at the park. The allegation that Carper exposed himself to the woman came the same week as he suffered strokes and a heart attack.

There have been no charges filed.

There have been reports in recent months that a federal grand jury is looking into the allegations.