HUNTINGTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – Quick intro: My name is Scott Jones, and I’m some random 44yo guy from Huntington, WV. Well, not really. Really, I’m from Richwood. But that’s another story. To the point, I graduated as a Yeager Scholar at Marshall University and worked in the deepest, darkest depths of local government (a public service district) for a while (it wasn’t that bad, tbh). While there, I put my passion for writing into blogging a bit about West Virginia politics & government but I zipped that in favor of working as a Redistricting Analyst for the WV House of Delegates.
Well, all that mapping jazz is done for now and I am excited to work with lootpress, the state’s fastest growing media company, to cover WV postate & local government and the road to 2024.
I’ll keep to calling balls & strikes as fairly as possible on the news side. With the WV press corps as thin as ever, there will be too much minutiae and detail to cover to get too much into the weeds of spin. In my column (…a sour apple tree), however, I will offer a blend of ‘splainers, detailed analysis, listicles, maps, my *actual* opinion (on both the coulds and the shoulds), grumbling, attaboys, and general attempts at humor.
So… Wake up. It’s 2024.
The WV Legislature held interim committee meetings last week in Huntington. To the layman, these can seem tedious and dull. That’s ok, because they seem that way to the most seasoned observer, too. There are always some highlights, though.
- The compromise on HB 3153 reached in the VFD & EMS joint committee was a real win for compromise, cooler heads, and good government. It legitimately bothered many members on both houses that the bill couldn’t make it to the governor’s desk and I could sense the relief in the voices of both Delegates Mike Honaker and Phil Mallow when I spoke to them after the meeting.
- Huntington Mayor Steve Williams has so firmly consolidated his grip on Huntington that he hasn’t really faced any major pushback or opposition to either his plans or himself personally in a few years. While it gives him an strong air of confidence at the podium, it has also left him with some ring rust. During the Finance committee meeting, Delegate Daniel Linville (R-the other part of Cabell) might’ve given Morrisey, Capito, or Miller a strategy to throw Williams off his game. Linville led with questions about about state and private partnerships that did not fit with the mayor’s narrative and for which he did not have a specific answer, but Williams handled those with the expected skill. This, however, led to a third question about the city’s $7mil purchase of Pullman Square, a combination town square & shopping plaza (“strip mall” to critics). Williams was visibly agitated with the question and gave an answer about protecting the property from bad-faith investors that could easily be clipped by an opponent to sound borderline anti-capitalist.I mean, guess that’s one way to appeal to the legacy WV 2024 Democratic primary voters.
- On the other hand, Williams was cool as a cuke and made a solid appeal to moderate voters in the pensions committee.
- Finally, if you think PEIA is fixed, then bless your heart.
Thanks for reading. Got questions, feint praise, or angry objections? Hit me up on twitter: @CScottJones.