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Harley Orrin Staggers Sr., honored by WV Legislature

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Members of the West Virginia Senate honored former Congressman Harley Orrin Staggers Sr. during their floor session Jan. 9 for his influences on the state of West Virginia.

Sen. Bob Williams, D-Taylor, said he remembers Staggers as a kind, admirable man.

"Many Saturday afternoons I spent on Staggers' farm with Buckey and Danny (Staggers' children) playing football, basketball, baseball," Williams recalled. "I remember very vividly him coming home almost every weekend, he'd drive up the hill to the farm, get out of (his) large black car with (a) black trench coat and shock of white hair; when he got home -- things changed on the farm."

Serving in the United States Navy and in World War II, Staggers also spent 32 years in U.S. Congress.

However, Williams said Staggers was best known for the Staggers Act of 1980 which freed the railroad industry from stagnation and led the railroads into a period of stability and profitability.

Although the former congressman did a lot for West Virginia and the nation, Williams said he will always remember him as a family friend.

"He was a distinguished, warm-hearted man who was my father's friend," he said. "His service to West Virginia and the nation is very distinguished."

Staggers and his wife, Mary Casey Staggers, had six children -- one of whom currently is in the West Virginia House of Delegates -- Delegate Margaret Anne Staggers, D-Fayette. Their other children include Mary Kaye Staggers, Frances Susan Tasker, Elizabeth Ellen Shank, Harley "Buckey" O. Staggers Jr., who served in the West Virginia Senate as well as in Congress, and Daniel Staggers.

Jan. 9 also was recognized in the Senate as Monongalia County day, and Sen. Bob Beach, D-Monongalia, spoke of the prosperity in his county.

"Today we are celebrating the very first Monongalia County under the Capitol dome," he said. "If you've ever been to Morgantown you know the growth that is going on around there."

Beach discussed West Virginia University and it's ability to "shape minds everyday."

He honored those who came from his county be recognized for their efforts for their county and the state of West Virginia.

The Senate will reconvene at 10 a.m., Jan. 10.