In 2015 Jim Justice changed his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat to run for Governor of West Virginia. He believed that it would be easier for him to defeat the Republican candidate Bill Cole. Turns out he was exactly right he was able to defeat Cole.
Gov. Justice ran his campaign on one note that struck West Virginians close to home. “Creating good jobs and getting our miners back to work. Let’s all pull the rope together,” said a Jim Justice in an ad campaign that hit both radio and TV. This, of course, played right into the emotions of the great folks in southern West Virginia.
Once he had secured the Office of Governor he started pushing for a budget that would make cuts to certain programs in WV to attempt to balance the budget. Some of the things that were in his crosshairs were programs like RESA (Regional Education Services Agency). RESAs across the state are a vital part of the education system in WV. Some of the services they provide to k-12 school systems are, Adolescent Health Initiative, a partnership with The Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA), Per WVBOE Policy Alternative Certification Programs for the Education of Teachers, Computer Repair Technicians, Special Education Medicaid (Helping to get special needs children extra help through Medicaid for speech-language, physical, and occupational therapy, nursing, psychology, audiology, IEP development, IEP update, care coordination, personal care, transportation and technical assistance), Professional Development for teachers, WVEIS Support (WVEIS is a computer based program for student scheduling, student attendance, student grading, and several custom programs. Financial and employee applications include payroll processing, human resources, fixed asset inventory, warehousing, and purchasing). This list does not include all of the other things that RESAs do for the state such as Fire Fighter training, West Virginia Environmental Training, and other adult education programs.
Other things he was able to help get the legislature to cut where $7.5 million from colleges and universities, $2.5 million from community and technical colleges, $323,000 for community and technical education and $228,000 from the higher education policy commission. That’s on top of a $10 million higher education cut in the governor’s original budget proposal.
There’s a $5.3 million cut from the Department of Education. That includes a $1 million cut from 21st Century Assessment and Professional Development and eliminating Innovation in Education and Technology Systems Specialist funding at $4.5 million.
There’s a $4.5 million cut from the Division of Health. That includes eliminating $3 million in funding for the Tobacco Education Program.
The budget has a $5 million cut from the Consolidated Medical Service Fund.
There’s a $3.8 million cut from the Division of Corrections and a $1.5 million cut from the State Police.
It would seem to us with the opioid epidemic that we have in this state you would not want to cut healthcare funding or police and correction funding. With all of the cuts that were made to the education system both k-12 and higher education, it would seem that his priorities are not set to help educate our children in this fast-growing world.
I guess we need to look in the mirror and ask ourselves is this the legacy we want to leave our children with? What can we do to change these things now? Do we wait for another election and hope someone else can clean it up? We say NO! the people of this state need to be heard. Call your local representative, call the governor’s office and tell the people who want to serve the state of WV exactly what you want for our state now. Waiting on the next election might be too late.
Standing together we can make WV the greatest state in these United States of America.
Link to state senators contact info http://www.legis.state.wv.us/Senate1/roster.cfm
Send a message to the Governor http://www.governor.wv.gov/pages/submitacommenttothegovernor.aspx