ICYMI: The Register-Herald Editorial: Justice ought to retire his coach’s whistle
In Sunday’s Register-Herald, the editorial board called on West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice to “retire his coach’s whistle, show up at the capitol and get to work.” Justice been accused of being absent during critical moments and scarcely meeting with his Cabinet by both Democrats and Republicans, in addition to running the worst state economy in the country. And let’s not forget that Justice received a vote of “no confidence” from his own party.
Justice, the least popular incumbent facing reelection, is an equally unpopular basketball coach. He recently called an opposing girls’ basketball team “a bunch of thugs” after a scuffle on the court between a coach and a member of the crowd. Justice’s racist comments earned him scathing headlines in the New York Post and Sports Illustrated.
“Gov. Jim Justice is an embarrassment to the Office of the Governor,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Christina Amestoy. “While Justice spends his time bullying teenage girls, the number of uninsured children in the state continues to increase and thousands of West Virginians struggle to put food on the table. Justice should spend the little time he has left in office focused on improving the economy – not insulting his constituents.”
Register-Herald Editorial: Justice ought to retire his coach’s whistle
We have been concerned for some time with Gov. Jim Justice’s take on the economy these past couple of years. To hear the governor talk, he inherited a mess back in 2017 – and there is no dismissing the evidence of that. But now, as if he were some carnival barker, the governor is pitching the state’s economy as something that it is not.
“If you don’t think things are rosy, you’re just out of your mind,” Justice said recently.
Well, governor, you are wrong, just as you were off the mark last summer when you told a small gathering of people at Black Knight here in Beckley, “Things are growing significantly faster in our state. Anywhere you go, things are better than they were two years ago. You’ve got to have your eyes closed driving around (not to see it).”
Our eyes are wide open, governor, and here is what we see: revenue collections missing your own budget projections, a state in need of visionary leadership and a governor who is spending too much time coaching high school girls basketball – during the legislative season, no less – and not attending to the full-time job of running the state and working for the general welfare of its citizens.
So, just how rosy is the economy? And what issues are there to address?
This past week, Fairmont Regional Medical Center announced that it would close in 60 days. More than 600 employees will be laid off.
Here’s another: Between 2016 and 2018 in West Virginia, in large part during Justice’s term as governor, over 1,500 West Virginia children under the age of 6 lost health coverage and became uninsured, according to data from the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.
And there is this. We know – as we addressed in a previous editorial – that the governor has fashioned his narrative of a robust state economy around data from WorkForce West Virginia, a state economic agency that uses federal statistics, to say the state added about 19,000 jobs in the past year. But a WorkForce press release struck a different tone. Unemployment had risen, the agency noted, and the state had actually lost nearly 3,000 jobs across various sectors.
In case the governor does not see the issue of food insecurity while driving around the state, had he been in Charleston this past January he could have attended a meeting of the Hunger Caucus, a bipartisan group from the West Virginia House of Delegates.
Chad Morrison of Mountaineer Food Bank offered two stats at that meeting that take a person’s breath away: 270,000 people – about 15 percent of the state’s total population – struggle with hunger daily, and his organization has delivered 31 million pounds of fresh vegetables, fruit, dairy and meat to 600 feeding programs.
We would suggest you retire the coach’s whistle, show up at the capitol and get to work.
The economy is not rosy and troubles are mounting.