Spouses riding in county vehicles is a practice that must be halted

July 1, 2014

By Ron Gregory


First of all, let me reiterate something I have said and written before: I think the vast majority of Mingo Countians are among the finest folks on Earth. They are honest, sincere, dedicated and loyal. If you look in a dictionary for the definition of “southern hospitality,” a Mingo County picture has to be with the text.

I adore the Mingo Democratic Women (I adore all women, but let’s forget that for a moment). I think they are fabulous and do a fantastic job. I love being invited to their events and, even more, like being with them.

Still, I am required to be observant and tell the truth. So, let me just mention that Sheriff James M. Smith drove a county vehicle to Saturday’s Democratic Women picnic at Kermit. While he might argue that he is on call 24 hours a day, I also noted that his wife accompanied him and rode in the county vehicle. There is no way that is proper. I will not go into all the details as to why, but I will say it is a practice that should immediately be halted. I have also been told county-licensed vehicles have been at other partisan events in other southern counties. The practice should stop.

… Word from the statehouse is that Lincoln County’s chief elections officer, Christy Scaggs, is joining the staff of Secretary of State Natalie Tennant.

… One rumor had it that the expected absence of a legislative staffer is the reason no interims are being held in July. Allegedly, June surgery would prevent her attendance. But the staffer answered her statehouse phone Friday, just days after the alleged surgery. She said she had “no idea” why interims were not scheduled in July.

… Perhaps Democrats can mail more letters at taxpayer expense this month saying why the sessions are being canceled. That would be “constituent information,” wouldn’t it?

… Temporary grants, like the one that kept a deputy stationed full-time at Sherman HighSchool, remain proof that an old axiom is true: never give the public any service you will have to eventually take away. Everyone in Boone County agrees the program is fantastic and the officer has done a great job. But the grant that paid him is expiring, so he will be back on regular road patrol unless something changes dramatically.

… State senators Art Kirkendoll and Ron Stollings were in high gear at Saturday’s Mingo picnic. While both spoke of their own legislative service, they admonished the crowd about the necessity of re-electing Democrat Congressman Nick Joe Rahall. I agree that the Southern coalfields cannot stand to lose Rahall’s clout and seniority.

… Richard Ojeda, the recently-defeated Democrat candidate who lost to Rahall in the primary, has given a “sore loser” performance ever since. Recently, Ojeda commented on social media about how Logan voters “sent Rahall a message last month.” One wonders what that message was since Rahall beat Ojeda about 61 to 39 percent in Ojeda’s home county. They may actually have sent him a message.

… Your comments, story ideas, rumors and visits to my office in county-licensed vehicles are always welcome. Be sure to bring your spouse with you. Use the email listed or call 304-533-5185.