By Senator Stephen Baldwin
After a look at several statewide issues in last week’s column, this week I will focus closer to home on several local issues.
VETERAN’S NURSING HOME. Good news! We are finally moving forward on building a new veteran’s nursing home in southern West Virginia! The money is in the governor’s budget, for which I am eternally grateful after several years of hard work, and it will allow us to move forward with construction in Beckley. Now our elderly veterans can stay closer to family and still receive the care they need.
ANTHONY CORRECTIONAL CENTER. Last week, I asked the Department of Homeland Security for an update on construction of Anthony Correctional Center in northern Greenbrier County. It has been closed for several years due to a mold problem. To my chagrin, they have no timetable for construction. Previously, they’d promised to be finished by 2022.
SLUM & BLIGHT PROGRAM. I received several calls from flood survivors accepted into the Slum & Blight program. They were supposed to have their homes/buildings demolished in the program. However, many of them report being suddenly denied. I am digging into the situation to find out why these families are being told something different nearly five years later.
BRIDGES & HOMES. Each week, I continue to work with local citizens on bridge and home rebuilds related to the 2016 flood. For example, a new bridge project is beginning construction in the Meadow River Valley this week. If your project runs into any obstacles, be in touch. I’ll help troubleshoot.
COVID. The COVID situation across our region is markedly improved. Our active cases have plummeted! This is wonderful news. Because we’re following guidelines and getting folks vaccinated, the virus is being starved of a means to spread. Please do your part to keep that trend moving in the right direction by staying vigilant.
VIRTUAL TOWN HALLS. I’m hosting several virtual town halls in the coming weeks. Stay tuned to my social media accounts for details. It’s very important to me that I be in touch with folks from back home. You send me to Charleston to do what is right, and I rely on your wisdom to discern what the right thing for our communities is.
BILL UPDATE. I mentioned several worrisome bills last week. Unfortunately, they all continue to advance – SB 3 immunity from COVID liability, SB275 formation of a new intermediate court, SB12 removing authority from health departments, and SB13 foster care discrimination.
TRANSPARENCY. An alarming trend has developed this year. In just over two weeks, we’ve seen half a dozen bills which remove all requirements for public disclosure of meetings/information or make agency information private and not subject to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). That’s not how government is supposed to work; government should be transparent for everyone to see.
That’s the view from the back pew, where it is my privilege to serve you!
(Senator Stephen Baldwin is the Minority Leader and a local pastor. Reach him at 304-357-7959 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @BaldwinForWV)