We’re all very concerned about our roads. I am more interested in the roads that you use to get to work, to go to church, to take your kids to school, to get to the grocery store, to go to the ball game. That’s got to be our focus. We can’t be worried about massive highways coming in from the state or building new projects. We’ve got to maintain the roads that we have.
I’ve driven all over the state. I’ve seen roads falling into the Coal River. On Henshaw Road, which passes under I-81 in the eastern panhandle, we’ve had issues with chunks of concrete falling out of the bottom of the overpass onto the road while West Virginians are driving along with their families. It concerns me greatly. Now, we’ve been able to get these particular overpasses patched and they’re doing a lot of work on I-81, but the simple fact of the matter is, we have got to maintain and upgrade the roads in our communities in the areas where West Virginians live. These need to be our top priority.
The recent experience with COVID has made it very clear to all of us that we really need good internet – reliable internet - in West Virginia. The education opportunities, the work opportunities, that we’ve lost because we don’t have an effective communications backbone or infrastructure here in West Virginia has made it clear to us. What I believe we need to do is open up the communications marketplace in West Virginia so that we could bring in new technology – new innovations.
Agriculture is critical for the products that it produces, the safe and adequate supply of food for all of us and the other products that come through agriculture. But, in addition to that, it’s a critical component of our economy. It’s not only an interesting part of our past, but it’s a critical part of our future. I’ve worked in, or studied, national security most of my adult life and can tell you that food security is a critical element of national security. As your governor, it will be a critical element of my work to ensure that the institutions of our government function to ensure that our agriculture, businesses, and our farms, and all the people who work on the farms and work in agricultural production, have every opportunity to innovate, to grow, to produce, and to provide for us a safe adequate supply of food, but also ensure our food security for generations to come.
First of all, as we develop our industry in West Virginia and as we build our economy, we have to protect our water – protect the rest of the environment, because we need water to drink. Secondly, speaking of drinking water, we have to develop better water treatment facilities in these small towns that used to belong to the coal mines. They built the water treatment facilities and now they’re falling apart and the coal companies are not there to maintain them. We have to do a better job.