That doesn’t have to be the way it is - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

That doesn’t have to be the way it is

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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. 

Sadly, poverty seems to be an accepted part of West Virginia.
So entrenched in many of our communities, we often take it for granted.
“That’s just the way it is” allows us to rationalize and move on. Sometimes it takes an outsider to shake us out of our complacency. A New York Times piece published early this week, details the crippling poverty that remains in McDowell County. Citing the 50th anniversary’s of the federal government’s War on Poverty, the author visits the hills and hollows around Welch to see what’s become of the people who were to be the direct beneficiaries of help from Washington.
Just a few of the more troubling statistics in the story include:
  • The median household income in is $22,000.
  • Nearly 47 percent of personal income in the county is from Social Security, disability insurance, food stamps and other federal programs.
  • Fewer than one in three county residents are in the labor force.
This is deeply troubling. The only bright spot on the economic horizon is road construction and two new prisons, but failed drug tests often prevent local residents from landing jobs. We can debate the benefits of the War on Poverty, but that won’t help. Nor can we ignore a history of exploitation that funneled out natural resources and did very little to reinvest in the community. What we know now is that times are hard. How do we change that? How do we give the people across this state a meaningful chance at the American Dream? The first thing we must do is change our mindset.
How bad does it have to get before those in power wake up? Politicians rarely work with any sense of urgency, but you have to wonder just how dire the circumstances have to be before they do something. What’s happening in McDowell County is happening in too many other places in our state. During the most recent legislative session, both houses mostly lamented their shrinking budget and many in the House of Delegates thought 2014 would be a fine time to grind political axes and stage closed-door shouting matches. Yet, did they do anything to make life better for those crippled by poverty or drug abuse? Did they do anything to attract new business, empower students and prepare them for life in the 21st Century or ensure fairness in our courts? The answer to all those questions is no.
And we wonder why McDowell County is in the shape it’s in.
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