Gov. Jim Justice issued the following statement recently after West Virginia University’s announcement that Morgantown, Shepherdstown, and Lewisburg have been selected as the first three cities selected to participate in the Brad & Alys Smith remote work program:
“Today is an exciting day for West Virginia. During my State of the State address, you first heard me share news of a generous donation provided by Brad and Alys Smith to help us work on a concept that would bring remote workers to West Virginia. This program will put West Virginia on the map as a great place to visit, live, and now work remotely.
“I’d like to personally congratulate the communities of Morgantown, Shepherdstown, and Lewisburg for being selected as the program’s first cities that will accept remote workers starting as early as this summer. I have spent time in each of these towns and I know you all will roll out the red carpet and give these new West Virginia residents the warmest of welcomes. What I love most about the selection of these three cities is that they each offer their own version of Almost Heaven.
“In Morgantown, remote workers will get the opportunity to be in the heart of the action in one of West Virginia’s most vibrant college towns. Shepherdstown offers a riverside oasis located just a rock’s throw away from the major metropolitan area of Washington, DC. And in Lewisburg, workers will get the opportunity to experience mountain living at its finest, with a beautiful downtown and thriving arts scene. Collectively, these three cities each offer a uniquely ‘West Virginia’ experience to those looking to move here and work remotely.
“We are thrilled to have joined forces with the Smiths and WVU on this initiative. It not only has my personal support, but it has the full support from my Tourism, Commerce, and Economic Development departments to assist with marketing as well as community readiness and development. We are also working to modernize our corporate tax structure to allow us to attract and retain these remote workers. With bipartisan support, I’m happy that the House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed my remote worker tax bill (HB 2026) and am hopeful that the Senate will also pass this important legislation so I can sign it into law.
“Remote work has great potential in our state, and I know this is just the beginning. While three cities were selected to get this program started, I know there’s more goodness to come. There are other cities working on developing similar programs, and I could not be more proud. Brad and I both want nothing more than to look back in five or 10 years and see a program that spans the entire state and has pushed the bounds on remote work in West Virginia beyond what we ever could have imagined.
“As I said just one month ago, Brad truly embodies the spirit of a Mountaineer. He and Alys have absolutely given us a real chance to do this. In a time where so many can now work from home but live in other places, we must not let this opportunity pass us by. We take for granted this place we all call home. It’s time to share our secret with the world. Let’s get to work, West Virginia!”