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WV Legislative Update

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A golden retriever puppy is unpredictable.  Our family should know, as we’ve had five.  Working on the railroad for nearly 38 years, I only experienced some of the flowerbed digging, boot chewing and tool hiding, never getting the full impact of puppyhood until last week.  At 6 months old, Waldo decided to check out a newly poured footer.  Not just a footprint or two, but he did an entire lap around the fresh concrete.  While I was able to float out most of the tracks, the deep ones remain.  Meanwhile, Jean washed the evidence off the guilty party.  I’ve always been an advocate of lifelong learning.  Another life lesson learned and added to our family story.

From time to time, central West Virginia benefits from funding and programs provided by the Appalachian Regional Commission.  ARC was created Congress in 1965 and its board is comprised of the thirteen governors of states in the Appalachian region with a federal co-chair appointed by the President.  Of the thirteen states in the region, only West Virginia has the entire state – all 55 counties - included in the ARC designation.  All other states are only partially included.  In most instances, they have supplied partial funding for many of our water and wastewater projects.

With the recent news from ARC adding three more West Virginia counties to the “distressed” category and downgrading five more to “at risk”, it is more important than ever that our congressional delegation and Governor focus more ARC efforts on economic development, higher education access, technical and job training programs in high school and post-secondary, broadband access, and diversification of the economy beyond extractive industries.  Once again, this news reinforces my long time contention that central West Virginia is considered a great location but does not get the help needed, as we’re sandwiched between the more populous and robust economies of the Kanawha Valley and the Bridgeport-Morgantown area.

Our central West Virginia counties need to form as many regional coalitions as possible to maximize growth efforts, including being actively involved in supporting Glenville State College; our joint Gilmer and Braxton broadband efforts; and the pursuit and development of a regional economy that lifts all boats.

I’m excited about the recent press release of Braxton County Memorial Hospital becoming a partner in the WVU Health System.  I know how important our hospital is to central West Virginia, in terms of access to quality healthcare and one of the major employers.  As a legislator that has been at the forefront of healthcare issues, this is an important link in having the ability to attract new residents and businesses.  And, as a member of the BCMH Board of Directors, I’m excited about how this will have a positive impact on the opportunity to expand access to specialists and services, thereby making healthcare more accessible for our citizens in Braxton, Gilmer and areas of surrounding counties that BCMH serves.

While there are a few regulatory hoops remaining, I believe this is a net positive for BCMH and the WVU Health System.  With the current uncertainty in how rural healthcare will be impacted by future policies coming out of Washington, having strong partnership with a strong system is critical.  Our late BCMH administrator Ben Vincent recognized this and worked diligently on this important initiative.  I appreciate his vision and drive to strengthen an already strong BCMH for years to come. 

Finally, I’m pleased that the opportunity for getting a Dollar General in Burnsville is back on the discussion stage with DG representatives.  While these are only preliminary steps, no definitive decision has been made.  However, recent conversation and subsequent correspondence appears positive.  And, in talks with the WV Development Office, I’m encouraged they may provide some level of assistance to the initiative.  We’ll see how things unfold.

The next interim meetings are later this month, September 16 – 18 at the Capitol.  While a schedule of meetings is not available at this deadline, it will be available on the WV Legislature website prior to the meeting dates.

Please send your inquiries to my home office:  151 Park Street, Gassaway, WV 26624.  My home number is 304.364.8411; the Capitol office number is 304.340.3142.  If you have an interest in any particular bill or issue, please let me know.  For those with Internet access, my legislative e-mail address is:

You may also obtain additional legislative information, including the copies of bills, conference reports, daily summaries, interim highlights, and leave me a message on the Legislature’s web site at www.legis.state.wv.us/.  When leaving a message, please remember to include your phone number with your inquiry and any details you can provide. Additional information, including agency links and the state government phone directory, may be found at www.wv.gov. Also, you may follow me on Facebook at “Brent Boggs”, Twitter at “@DelBrentBoggs” , as well as the WV Legislature’s Facebook page at “West Virginia Legislature” or on Twitter at twitter.com/wvlegislature.

Continue to remember our troops - at home and abroad - and keep them and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  Until next week – take care.

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