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Successor to Tolbert to be picked next month

July 09, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Delegates convening at a state NAACP convention next month in Beckley, W.Va., are expected to name a successor to state NAACP president Jim Tolbert

Tolbert, a Jefferson County resident, has been president of the state chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People since 1986 but said last week he has decided to step down from the position.

Jefferson County resident George Rutherford, who has been president of the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP since 1974 except for one two-year term, said he has decided to step down when his term ends December of next year.

Delegates representing the more than one dozen chapters are expected to vote on a new state president at the conference in Beckley on Aug. 10 and 11, local NAACP officials said.

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It is expected there will be nominations from the floor during the conference and delegates will vote on those nominations, said Richard Wahl, a member of the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP and past 1st vice president of the group.

Wahl said it is unclear who might be the next state NAACP president.

"I'm not so sure anyone from the Jefferson County chapter is prepared to assume that responsibility," Wahl said Sunday.

Tolbert also said last week he did not know who might be tapped for the job.

Tolbert and Rutherford said last week that they believe Tolbert's long reign as state NAACP president can be attributed to the fact that there has always been a lot of important black issues locally that needed to be addressed and those issues also resonated with NAACP supporters statewide.

Wahl said the Jefferson County branch of the NAACP has been very active because Tolbert and Rutherford have kept the group "energized."

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