Wood County announcement offers hope - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Wood County announcement offers hope

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  • Transition team must act with urgency

    Transition team must act with urgency

    Friday, December 16 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-16 11:00:16 GMT

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

  • Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Friday, December 9 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-09 11:00:15 GMT

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

  • Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Friday, December 2 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-02 11:00:19 GMT

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

You just have to be excited by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's announcement that Odebrecht, a Brazilian company, is helming the exploration efforts to develop a new petrochemical complex in Wood County. If everything plays out right, West Virginia could one day be home to an ethane cracker. These facilities convert ethane from gas shale deposits to ethylene, a compound used in manufacturing plastics. If it happens, and there is a long road ahead of us, this could revitalize our state's manufacturing sector. 

"There's a lot of hurdles we still have to jump through," Tomblin said last week during a news conference in Parkersburg. "But I feel very confident we have developed the relationship with Odebrecht that is a good one, and I think they can respond to it. 

"We have the resources and the business atmosphere that they're looking for."

While it could be some time before ground is broken on this project, you have to credit Tomblin and his team for bringing us to this point. He has shown leadership and tenacity and his diligence is starting to yield tangible results. But, in many ways, the truly hard work begins now. To get this project off the ground, this state is going to roll out the red carpet for Odebrecht. It's likely they will be exempted from volumes of taxes and laws. Whether that is good or bad is clearly up for debate, but the smart thing to do would be to level the playing field for every business in every sector of this state's economy.
Again, we support Odebrecht and the efforts being made to bring this project to fruition, but at some point, our elected leaders need to stop making special deals for a certain company and give everyone the same shot. We've made progress in terms of our tax code, but more work can and must be done. We must also ensure fairness on our courts and make certain our young people are getting the kind of education that will prepare them for life in the 21st Century.

West Virginia has such potential. Our work force, when given a chance to compete, is among the best. We can point to scores of positive factors that work in our favor. We need elected leaders who have the courage to open our economy and make our state a place that welcomes investment. For generations, we have been bedeviled by power brokers who would rather further the status quo than move our state forward. A better West Virginia is a prosperous West Virginia — a place where each one of us, not just a select few, has a shot at prosperity.

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