Our government can help build a diverse economy, but it takes planning, cooperation, not deregulation and tax breaks for the rich.
Governor Justice recently went to Fairmont to sing the praises of a planned expansion of the I-79 Tech Park and its role in diversifying West Virginia’s economy.
Justice, a billionaire coal magnate, campaigned on taking WV on a “jobs rocket ride” in 2016 with his experience as a businessman. With Trump elected president, he betrayed voters by switching parties to cozy up to him.
The I-79 Tech Park was conceived in the 1990’s as a non-profit job-generating facility by Congressman Alan Mollohan and Senator Robert Byrd, a public servant beloved by all West Virginians for his tireless efforts to bring roads and infrastructure home. Byrd helped bring federal projects, such as the FBI fingerprint division and NOAA’s supercomputing center, knowing it would attract the private sector over time.
A recent Fairmont University study says the I-79 high tech corridor now generates $1.7 billion in economic activity and over 11,000 jobs.
Senator Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat and former WV governor, worked tirelessly to bring the Buffalo, WV Toyota plant here. It now employs over 1600 West Virginians.
Governor Justice has failed to take us on that rocket ride he promised. Like many Republican politicians, he seems to believe that cutting environmental regulations and taxes is all that is needed to unleash economic growth.
Byrd, Rockefeller, and Mollohan all demonstrated how strategic-minded, hard working elected officials can bring good jobs to our state and diversify the economy.
We need more like them to make our state a place more people can live, work, and raise their families.