CHARLESTON – Newly seated Charleston City Councilman Charles R. "Rusty" Webb could be in only one place on Jan. 20.
His daughter, 17-year-old Alexa, previously had taken an internet-based test to determine with which presidential candidate she was most aligned and the result was President Donald Trump.
Newly sworn Charleston City Council Ward 17 Representative Charles R. "Rusty" Webb | Photo courtesy of Charles R. "Rusty" Webb
"She's a big Trump fan," Webb said during an interview with The West Virginia Record.
It was a good enough reason for Webb and his daughter to travel to Washington for the event. Webb was a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1996 to 2004, overlapping the period when George W. Bush was president of the United States from 2001 to 2009.
"In all that time, I've never been to a presidential inauguration," he said. "But I thought it was only right that she'd get to go to the inauguration."
Alexa Webb was able to get a glimpse of Trump from her seat about 50 feet from a fence that separated the VIP area from their seating area under a tree on the west lawn of the White House.
"Most people who went can't point to where they were during the inauguration," Webb said. "But we can."
It was the high point of a week, during which Webb was formally seated as Charleston's 17th Ward representative in place of fellow Republican John Miller, who resigned earlier this month for reasons of health. Webb was sworn in during the city council's regular meeting Jan. 17. He'd been recommended by Charleston Mayor Danny Jones earlier in the month as a replacement for Miller.
Webb is expected to finish Miller’s term, which ends with the city's next election in November 2018.
The city council's 17th Ward includes much of Kanawha City.
Webb is a longtime personal injury and divorce attorney well-known for giving away a free legal divorce representation every Valentine’s Day. The Charleston Urban Renewal Authority member served four terms in West Virginia's House of Delegates before his unsuccessful bid for the state Senate, losing in 2004 to Democrat Dan Stevenson Foster, who went on to represent the 17th district until 2012.
One of his ward's pressing concerns is security, particularly in parking lots, a problem pointed up by the death of Dunbar City Councilwoman Pamela Reynolds. Reynolds died Jan. 14, days after she was attacked and robbed in the Kroger parking lot in Dunbar Village and just after a television interview in which Reynolds urged that everyone, especially women, be vigilant and aware of their surroundings.
"Mothers, women alone, everyone should be able to walk across a parking lot alone without something like this happening," Webb said. "It's been happening and with entirely too much frequency."
Webb also admitted he is interested in higher office but declined to say which one.
"I'm always interested in higher office," he quipped. "It's just that my wife says I can't do that until I've reached my peak years. I don't know when that will be."