During the New Year, West Virginian’s can expect significant positive changes. As a Legislator in the 81st Legislature, I expect to see an agenda that focuses on education, jobs, and a better West Virginia.
Education. One word that many persons view from different perspectives. The education system in West Virginia is likely to see many changes. The recent educational audit has brought forth many recommendations that legislators should utilize when introducing and voting for legislation in the upcoming session. Personally, I would like to see an increase in teacher compensation with less emphasis on test scores.
As a Delegate from Southern West Virginia, I see many teachers crossing the border and going to Pike County, Kentucky in order to make a higher salary. In order to keep teachers in West Virginia, I encourage a pay raise and student loan repayment grant program for our teachers.
Jobs. Another word that stands for a lot. It is time for West Virginia to continue growing economically. We, as businessmen, legislators, and loyal citizens should focus on a collective effort of numerous strategies in order to bring more jobs to the Mountain State. Personally, I am excited for the coal-to-liquid plant that is being planned in Mingo County.
I further believe it is important that West Virginia continue mining coal while utilizing post-mine land. Post-mine land use is big in Southern West Virginia and it provides us with land to attract new jobs. Manufacturing plants such as the next Toyota, NGK, or even a Macy’s Distribution Center would be well served on one of these sites.
A Better West Virginia. This starts with continued progress. Over the past few years, under the leadership of former-Governor Joe Manchin, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, Senate President Jeff Kessler, Speaker of the House Rick Thompson, and House Finance Committee Chairman Harry Keith White we have seen progress being made in West Virginia. With continued effective leadership such as this we have seen lower taxes and more jobs in the Mountain State.
I look forward to the upcoming session and am encouraged by the challenges ahead of our great state.
Delegate Justin J. Marcum
House of Delegates - 20th District [Mingo and Logan Counties]