SPEAKER HANSHAW: Ladies and gentlemen, His
Excellency, the Governor of the State of West Virginia,
the Honorable James C. Justice.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Sit, sit, listen. Let's get
at this. Thank you, sir. Well, when I was getting
wired up out there just a second ago, there was a scene
on the practical jokers where we have a ball of wires
and they're in a ball and they're trying to get
somebody to untangle it, and Marshal and I were
fighting with that just a few minutes ago, boy.
But nevertheless, it's great to be here, it's
holy ground, sacred ground, and I know just how serious
and how big of an impact we have on so, so many.
So let me tell you this: I'm fortunate to
report that since the first time I was here, I weigh
about the same amount. Now, that's not good news. But
I hope tonight I'll have a lot of good news for you.
You know, I know how hard you work. I know how
hard it is to serve. I know how much you have to
sacrifice from your families and your businesses. And
mine the same. And so I've got Cathy, our First Lady,
over here, Jill, my daughter, that has a beautiful,
beautifulest grand -- son, and our only grandson, J. C.
And her husband Adam's not with us right now,
because he's looking after J. C. as he's bouncing off
the wall everywhere. And my son Jay. And it --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: And his wife Catherine's not
able to be with us tonight. And right beside Jay is my
older son Bray. So -- and believe you me, he's a whole
lot more to handle than all the rest of them.
But tonight, they've made a little more room for
me, and they've given me the opportunity to sit on my
stool. Now, I do that lots of places, and I do that
because my knees are in really bad shape. Of course,
you know that. And I've had 10,000 surgeries -- and
I'm exaggerating to make my point, but -- and I've
still got to have some more. I was just too slow in
sports to get out of the way, and so I got hit a lot.
But tonight, I'm proud to be sitting and talking
to you and not at a podium maybe lecturing to you. And
the same is true for all those that are out there
watching us on TV right now.
To me, I need to be talking to them as if I were
in their living room, or if I were sitting on a log
with them in the middle of the woods grouse hunting.
You know, that's what I think the people really,
really connect with and really get. Now, I know that
it would be impossible for any of us to disagree that
the first time you ever saw me, the first time I walked
in the door, things were pretty doggone tough.
The first set of books they handed me -- you
know this, and you know I'm not exaggerating in any
shape, form or fashion. But our state was bankrupt.
There's no way around it. I mean, when you look at the
current year you're in with the $217,000,000 deficit
that you're going to have that year, six months have
already elapsed before I walked in the door, and we're
saying, we're going to be $217,000,000 short that year.
And the next year, it's gonna be $497,000,000, and the
next year, 600 and some. And in the last year,
Now, that's not how bad it's going to be; that's
cumulative how bad it's going to be. So yeah, add them
all up. And before you know it, you get to a number
that is so astronomical, it's not even comprehendible.
Now, anybody would say -- anybody would say,
"Well, what are we going to do? What are we going to
do? How much money do we got in the bank?" And
immediately turn to the Rainy Day.
And we say, "Well, we can't take any more money
out of Rainy Day, because if we take more money out of
Rainy Day, the bonds are already going to be de-rated,
and they were. So what are you going to do? What are
you going to do?
And I prayed a lot. A lot. And I truly give
the good Lord the credit for all the good ideas, and
I'll take the credit for the bad ones. And I've had
plenty of credit for the bad ones. And I said,
somehow, some way overcome them and work.
But at the end of the day, after we went through
everything there was to go through, 23 months later,
we're here today, 23 months. Seems like an eternity,
but it just seems like it just happened yesterday.
There's been lots and lots and lots of hard
work. You've done a lot of great work, you really
have. And I could never thank you enough for it. I
could never thank you enough for the State, for the
people of West Virginia. I do feel like I came up with
a dadgum good bunch of ideas, but at the same time, I
thank you for your work.
This is not a king or a dictatorship. This is
not one. This is a body of people that are all in this
together, working for one cause, in my book, and that
is for the people of this state.
Now, I'm very proud tonight to say just -- when
I got here, we had multiple, multiple years - four or
five years - of cut budgets. Didn't have anywhere to
go. Had to cut. Had to cut to balance the budget.
Well, we haven't had any cut budgets recently,
and we're not going to have one today either. Today,
we have things that are so good, so pluses. No new
taxes. Did you hear that? No new taxes.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: In fact, we're going to
embark on significant tax cuts. Now, I know there is
those out in the never-never land that are wondering,
well, how? How can it be? How can you possibly,
possibly embark on all of these things that have been
introduced or that are floating around out there?
I'm going to tell you tonight. And I'm going to
tell you, at the end of the day, you're going to see a
budget that is increased less than the rate of
inflation, a budget that is increasing significantly
less than the -- than the economic growth of our state,
and it's going to be able to do all the things that
I've told you that we could do.
I challenge you over and over to watch the
numbers. We all know on day one that -- red, red, red,
red. Today, we have an all-time record. Now, I'm
telling you, this bothers me. But when you're able to
announce to the world - whether it be in the media or
social media or all of our friends or whomever it may
be, but you're able to announce - that the biggest in
the State's history -- now, that's pretty damn big to
I mean, that's all there is to it. The biggest
in the State's history. The biggest in the State's
history. For six months, a surplus bigger than we've
ever had before. And the largest revenue that we've
ever had before in the first six months of collection.
And I tease about Bray all the time. But I'd
say if you go back to whenever in West Virginia, even
Bray wasn't here then. Now, it's possible, but I'm not
sure -- we probably should get a birth certificate.
But nevertheless, it is really an accomplishment.
No one guy can do this. There's no way.
Tonight, I would -- I would have said before, make
education our centerpiece. You see, I've really been a
believer that education is the hot spot that really can
change our image.
You know, so many on the outside -- you and I
know how good it is here in West Virginia, and we know
how great our people are here. We know how good our
schools are, and we know how low crime we have and all
the goodness that we have and the beauty beyond belief.
But the outside world doesn't know it. The
outside world, in all honesty, thinks that we're -- or
maybe thought is the right word, that we're backward,
or that we're absolutely naive. I've said it over and
over, we had to kill a deer every day in school to feed
But that's not the way it is. That's not West
Virginia. So I said, let's make education our
centerpiece. It in itself, that stake we put in the
sand right there, that very stake, has changed a lot of
Now, we decided to make education our
centerpiece. I am telling you, in my world, at least,
we have made education our centerpiece.
Now, we have decided to invest. We got rid of A
through F. We absolutely got rid of so much of the
ridiculous testing, and we put control back in the
local hands as much as we can.
We absolutely gave a 5 percent teacher's pay
raise, and we ended up giving a 5 percent
across-the-board pay raise to all State employees. We
did change our image. We've still got a long ways to
go, but we did change it.
Very proudly tonight, very proudly tonight, I am
saying that within my budget, I have included a 5
percent pay raise for all State employees.
In regard to PEIA, PEIA, I promised that we
would put $50,000,000 in PEIA one year, $50,000,000 the
next year, $100,000,000 total. That was the beginning
of the talks.
Then we decided, well, we've got enough surplus
dollars, we could put $100,000,000 into PEIA right now.
Now, it's not a --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I'm -- I'm really only
getting started. And that's the good part. The other
thing is just this: Through -- $100,000,000 in PEIA is
not going to solve PEIA forevermore. But today, PEIA
does not need any true-up moneys. Putting $100,000,000
into PEIA is a giant first step. And we can do that,
and that is exactly what we're going to do.
But in addition -- in addition, just think about
this: Dave Hardy, our Secretary of Revenue and his
great disciples, they have found a way that really and
truly, we can dedicate not 100 percent of that as
required, but only $105,000,000 will earn us
$150,000,000 that we can dedicate to PEIA today.
So that's not what we're going to do. We're not
going to do $100,000,000; we're going to do
$150,000,000. And you know what we're going to do?
We're not going to take one dime of that from the
budgets, the upcoming budgets.
Now -- I'll talk about that again in just a
second. But -- am I messing up here somewhere? My PBS
mic's not on. Well, that's good. Let's just take time
to fix it.
I'm not in charge of the electronics now. This
isn't a shock collar, is it? While we're doing that,
I'm going to untangle wires. No, I'm not either. I
can't -- I can't pull it off.
Okay, are we good? All right, we'll try again.
I'm going to start from the beginning.
No, I better not do that, huh? Of course, you
know my commitment to education. I love kids. I love
-- I love what they bring to us every day. I have a
great fortune to be with kids in the wintertime, a
whole lot. And I just -- I think you can learn so
much, and they're -- it's easy to say that they're a
hope, but they are. And they're naive, and they learn
so much, and we owe them everything.
You know, tonight, we have with us a teacher,
Jada Reeves. She teaches at Brandley Elementary
School. Bradley Elementary School -- my son Jay and
Jill know Bradley Elementary School really, really
well, because Mo Ball who's sitting here in the
grandstand with us somewhere, Mo Ball took them -- Mo
Ball was a custodian at Bradley Elementary forever, and
he was a basketball coach at the school and did great
stuff with -- with lots and lots and lots of kids, is
my best buddy on the planet.
Now -- so Jay and Jill went there many, many,
many times working and honing their basketball skills
with Mo. But Jada Reeves, a fifth grade teacher from
Bradley Elementary School, would please stand up, and
we want -- let's recognize her as our Teacher of the
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Everybody started clapping
before I could tell them that you were our Teacher of
the Year. Congratulations. They must love you, and so
do I. Thank you.
Another individual I'd like to introduce real
quickly is Dan Anderson. Dan Anderson leads our
charges at Appalachian Bible School, and what he's done
at Mount Olive, he needs a great big round of applause.
So wherever Dan is -- is he here with us tonight?
Please stand, Dan.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Tonight, I'm putting a
challenge out to our State Department of Ed. We have
to improve our math scores. In 2020 -- right now,
we've got to get it done very quickly. Right today,
we've got to go to work, and we've got to improve our
math scores. We've got to do something about
absenteeism, and we've got to make West Virginia the
first state --
You know, I love to say "first," I love to say
-- the first state to offer computer science
class in every high school within our state.
The other thing is, I want them to always be
revisiting our state aid formula just to look -- just
to look at ways or possibilities to always make it
I want to urge you to pass into law the ability
to raise our math, our science, our foreign language or
our special ed teacher salaries in order to be able to
be competitive and to attract those people here.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I want you to allow our
teachers to be able to bank their leave days. We got
away from doing that, but I absolutely believe that it
will be beneficial to us, it will surely help in our
absenteeism, and it will be beneficial to our teachers.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I also want our
Promise scholarship to be covered for vocational
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Now, there's a special
project in West Virginia that's been amazingly special.
You know, my wife Cathy, she's -- she's not involved
like a scatter gun in every project known to man, but
nobody is kinder, nobody is more directed, nobody is
more sincere to communities and schools than Cathy.
My salary -- if I didn't do this, she'd kill me.
But my salary is all dedicated, 100 percent, to
Communities in Schools. Now, Community --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Communities in Schools, I
think in West Virginia, really started in Greenbrier
Now, there was a lady that brought it there -- I
think it was Emily Haas if I'm -- is that correct,
Cathy? And really brought it when Bobby Haas was with
the Dallas Cowboys and they moved back -- or to
Greenbrier County. It is incredibly successful. It is
Tonight, you're going to hear a lot of just
this: We have got to refocus ourselves on our youth
and some way steer them away from this horrible drug
epidemic and help them become a work force that we've
got to have in West Virginia.
Now, the site coordinators working with kids in
Communities in Schools do an unbelievable amount of
work in a lot -- and they touch kids when they're
having troubles, they're having all kinds of issues. A
lot of us maybe here don't realize just what they do
and just how good they truly are.
In Greenbrier County, I think they have 100
percent graduation rate. And today, we're only in
about three or four counties within West Virginia, and
we've expanded that since we've been here and since
Cathy's gone to work on that.
Tonight, I am calling for $5,000,000 within my
budget to expand Communities in Schools statewide. And
I've got a special presentation, because tonight -- and
I -- and forgive me if I mispronounce, but if this
gentleman could stand: Dale Erquiaga. Is that close?
Is Dale with us tonight? Up here? If Dale will
stand, Dale is the guru of Communities in Schools.
And please give him a good round of applause.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Now, also I've got one other
smaller friend that from time to time -- you know, he
and I kind of bingo off of one another and we enjoy
each other's company a little bit, he's a good guy,
he's real involved in Communities in Schools, and I
think we're going to show -- wherever it may be -- over
here, we're going to show a little video.
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL: Communities in Schools
is an incredible program doing great work, and I'm glad
to hear the sincerity and commitment to Communities in
Schools. You know, it's very encouraging when an
entire state gets behind a program like this, because
it's all about helping one another.
Thank you very much. Governor Jim, you
know I love you. (Kisses)
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Shaq is really involved with
Communities in Schools and does tremendous work, and
he's a great friend, and don't be paying any attention
to his kisses and love bit. But what a great, great,
If I could jump from this to Commerce. The
Department of Commerce today, we have new leadership.
We have Ed Gaunch. Ed --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: If I could say this about Ed,
he brings -- he brings friendship; he brings respect,
from you. He brings knowledge. He brings a lifetime
of business wealth and experience to the table, and
he's going to really help us.
I say this real quick: Don't think for a second
that the China issue is off the table or the natural
gas hub is gone. Today, like it or not like it, but
we're still having a little bit of head-butting going
on with the U.S. and China, and until the dust settles,
you know, between our Presidents and everything, we're
probably going to have a little head-butting going on,
but they're still in touch all the time.
There's absolutely so much interest in West
Virginia. We have so many possibilities for
manufacturing and natural gas hub and expansion of our
coal industry and on and on and on, tourism through the
roof, and so many different things, that we need a
great man like Ed - and we've got him - and I'm really
proud to have him.
Tonight I'd like to introduce one other person,
Phil Dickinson. Now, Phil is here representing the
British ambassador, and the British ambassador came
just not long ago, and he's got all kinds of ideas and
possibilities and things that they could bring to us
right here from Europe, from England, and do great,
great stuff as well.
So wherever Phil is, if Phil would stand. Good
to have you, Phil.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Okay, if I could jump from
there to tourism. And tourism is another wonderfully
bright spot in West Virginia. Wherever Chelsea Ruby
is, I'd like her to stand. Is she -- where's Chelsea?
Chelsea, great job. Great, great job. Unbelievable
I mean, think about this --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I think that we could clearly
say that in 2017, we had unbelievable growth. We
greatly surpassed the natural growth. In 2018, it
looks even stronger and stronger. Our hotel occupancy
is up 11 percent. You know, our increased prices in
revenue in our hotels is up 13.4 percent, and I will be
asking you for another $14,000,000, because every
dollar we put in tourism comes flooding back to us.
It's a multiplier effect.
It's just absolutely a cash register. We put
the money in, it comes flying right back at us. We
seeing this every month in our surpluses. This is the
state that ought to be the number one state in the
nation as far as tourism, and that young lady is doing
one whale of a job. Thank you, again, Chelsea.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Now I've got to report real
quickly about our state parks. We sold $60,000,000 of
excess lottery bonds to upgrade our state parks. We
have absolutely been doing that. That's all underway
You know, we're getting a tremendous response
with our state parks, and there's just lots and lots of
good going on there.
As far as our DNR efforts we've made, you know,
we have reestablished an Elk herd in West Virginia;
we're extending deer seasons. We're doing so many
things with our trout and our streams, and we're
exposing this state in so many ways, it's unbelievable.
But now, let me just tell you one other thing
that can be done. Now, a lot of people look at me like
a three-headed monster when I told you things and you
thought, no way, no way, coal severance tax aren't
going to come back, this or that or whatever it may be.
But I am telling you today, Austin Caperton, who
is a leader beyond belief, is not with us today right
now because he has been under the weather and he's had
some surgery, and Austin will be back soon. We miss
You talk about a super star. Now, he is a
flat-out super star. But here's what I am going to ask
Austin to do tomorrow, and that is just this: It's
something that we need so badly within West Virginia,
We need to develop multiple lakes within West
Virginia, multiple lakes that can give us hydroelectric
power -- which maybe we don't need, but at the same
time, they can give us flood control.
We need the ability to develop those lakes. Do
you know if you step back and think about it, four of
the most beautiful seasons in the world, the most
incredible people on the planet, the most unbelievable
natural resources, and we're located within 600 miles
of two-thirds of the people in the country. The only
thing we don't have is an ocean.
Now, I am telling you, our state needs more
developable lakes. It is a project that you may think
is a pipe dream, but I am telling you, without any
doubt, there is an infrastructure program about to be
announced by our President, and we need to be at the
line waiting. Austin Caperton will lead the charge for
Now, if I could switch to that -- from there to
roads. Our Roads to Prosperity program, no one can
deny, it's absolutely been a knock-it-out-of- the-park,
home run, grand slam, grand slam. It's created all
kinds of new jobs. Absolutely, it's working. It's
working in every way.
We salute all the great people that made the
licks and made it all work and made it all happen.
Before I get into the last component of this,
I'll say to the people out there in the world, the
tolls on the turnpike are going to change to $4.00 in a
couple of days, and we have pleaded with you, pleaded
with you, to buy your E-Z passes that are going to cost
you almost next to nothing.
Now, the idea that Mountaineers -- now, others
out of state can go too, but Mountaineers should go
free. And that's as close to free as we will ever be
able to get. You've got to go buy your E-Z Pass. We
cannot make the horse drink, but we can take it to
water, and we've taken you to water, so you have to go
apply and buy your E-Z Pass.
Now, we've got a terrible backlog with the E-Z
Pass situation, and we almost caused the dog mess of
all times. We could have been out there at the toll
booths, you know, on January 1st writing people notes
and saying, "Well, you can go," "You can't go."
Before you know it, we'd have had traffic backed
up to Pittsburgh. We figured it out and we got caught
up, and we've had umpteen, umpteen people that put in
all kinds of licks to get caught up.
You know, my office, Parkways, everybody in the
world, and we are caught up. So please, if you have
not applied, apply.
Now, back to our roads just a second. We've
done -- I don't know how many, but it's hundreds of
projects already. Here's the very thing, though, that
we need to do: We've got to shift a little bit of the
focus -- and we have had extensive discussions with the
bond holders and everything else, that we can do this.
We've got to pull some of the money out of the
bigger projects and move some of the money -- or
significantly more money. Not more than all the big
projects, but a little bit of additional moneys over to
fix more of our secondary roads.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I'm glad to see you all get
up. I thought you were going to sleep. Okay. If I
could have General Hoyer stand, if where -- where is
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Okay, we're going to
all stand again for this man. General, all I can say,
for all of us and all of us as West Virginians, all of
those as Americans, you talk about us having a super
star in our midst, we all thank you. We all applaud
You know, I think of so many things, whether it
be RISE or whether it be just the -- just the fact that
he's ready at any moment to lay his life down for all
of us, absolutely this man and what he's done is
You think about -- the Guard has brought in 300
jobs in the last year future -- or near past, and it's
created an economic impact on the State of West
Virginia of $361,000,000.
A lot of times, that goes unnoticed. But in
addition to all that, think about the Mountaineer
Challenge Academy. Think about young men and women
that are just absolutely lost, lost. Last year,
they're going to have above a 90 percent graduation
rate. And those people are on their way.
You know, so General, again, we all thank you in
every way possible.
If I could speak of the RISE program just real
quickly. We got a little bit diverted. And the reason
we got diverted is one thing. And I'll talk a little
bit about this in just a second. But you see, I came
here, and I have never wanted a dime. Not a dime. I
drive myself, put my own gas in. I don't want a dime.
Absolutely now, it's tough to step up like that.
Some people can't. But at the same time, when we get
off track and it seems to me like that government is
throwing away money or people are taking advantage or
there's improprieties that look absolutely wrong, I'm
going to be tough to deal with. That's all there is to
And we got going in a direction that we would
have thrown away millions and millions and millions of
dollars. We had to stop for a minute or two. And the
General came to the rescue and stepped in.
And tonight we have John and Grace Harris with
us, and they are the first -- first stick-built home
occupiers that we have now finished their home, and if
they would stand, I'd love for you to give them an
incredible round of applause.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: There's lots more to do. And
the General's all over it, and there's lots and lots
and lots more to do. There's dollars -- there's
significant dollars out there that are at our
fingertips, and we may be -- we may not be -- we may
not have to have all the dollars for the flood victims,
and we may be able to redirect some of the dollars and
the economic recovery or redirect some of the dollars
into something that I feel is a real pet peeve, and
that is just this:
You have a Senator in your midst tonight, a good
man, that has been after this project for a long time,
and that is some way tearing down these abandoned homes
and abandoned buildings that scatter all over our state
and clutter us in every way. And so we're going to try
to redirect some of those dollars and do just exactly
Now, let me jump to the veterans. Our veterans,
we owe all to. We all know that. We are able to
exempt their retirement. Good stuff. There's a few
other things that we're able to do right now that
you'll see in the budget, good stuff.
But I can tell you just this: For any of us
here that think that we don't owe every single thing
that we have to our vets, we're just plain wrong.
Dennis is here tonight. If Dennis would stand,
let's give him a big round of applause.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Okay, so we've done a bunch
of stuff. You see my hand? My hand's got four fingers
and a thumb. And sometimes your thumb can get in a lot
of ways, get caught in a door or whatever it may be.
But these fingers, if they were to represent our
economy, education, our veterans and our roads, we've
done pretty good on those four fingers.
But every time we jam our hand in a glove, we
hook our thumb, and it just won't go just right. We
keep just messing up and messing up and messing up.
What's the last component? Now, there's lots
and lots and lots of stuff still to do. But what's the
last component? We've got to fix the drug problem. We
have to fix the drug problem. We have to be committed
enough to fix something that is absolutely
Now, in Cabell County, we just had information
that we reduced our overdoses by 40 percent. Marshall
University, we started a Governor's Council on
Substance Abuse Prevention. We have done lots of
stuff, and we're making headway.
The very number one thing you had to have to get
the drug problem halfway under control is jobs. But
you know what? We're losing the battle. We're losing.
Now, if you don't know that we're losing, get
out there in the field and look and talk to people.
We're losing. So I'm going to ask you tonight to trust
me. I'm going to propose a program to you right now,
and I'm going to ask for your trust.
You see, I would say to you just this: What
would you do -- what would you do if you were in a
baseball game or a softball game -- what would you do
if the count was 3-2? What would you do if the bases
were loaded? The other team was at bat and your team
was one run ahead. The bases are loaded. The other
team's at bat. There's two outs. The count's 3-2.
You're on second base. You're in right field.
You're standing there pounding your glove, and you're
saying -- as the pitch is on the way, are you saying,
"Please, Lord, don't let them hit me the because I'll
muck it up."
Or are you hitting your glove and saying,
"Please, Lord, have them hit me the ball. I'll make
the play. I'll make the play. I want the ball."
Well, you see, right now, I'm going to ask you
for the ball. Now, I'm going to call this "Jim's
Dream," because I want it to be just that. I want it
to be a dream that we can take our people off this
terrible trail of terrible -- terrible drug trail, and
we can put them in a job, and we can give them real
I'm going to tell you it's going to take some
money to do this. Not all the money in the world. But
let me just tell you -- and there's so many -- there's
going to be so many opinions of what it -- how we ought
to do this. This is the most important thing that I'll
talk to you about tonight.
You know, there's going to be opinions, "Well,
we can do it at the community college," "We can do it
at the four-year schools," "We can do it through the
vo-tech," "We can do it through education," we can do
it through this, we can do it through that.
But I'm going to tell us just this: Just give
me a chance. Just give me a chance to fix it. You
know, I can get it done. I want the ball.
So if Rebecca will unveil this. The "J" is
going to stand for "jobs." The "I" is going to be
"in." The "M" is going to be "making." And the little
apostrophe is upside down, and we twisted it around to
make a "U." "Succeed."
Now, looks a little funny, doesn't it? But it
looks pretty much like I'd probably write.
But here's what I think we need to do: I think
our best alternative today is the adult training -- or
the adult learning educations in the education
department. The problem is just this -- and here's the
problem: Nobody's really going today. The reason
nobody's really going is not because it's not a good
program, it is because - and I don't know how to speak
of this any way but folksy, like you've heard me speak
- it's not the real deal.
It's not real training that they can go get a
real job. But what I'm going to ask you for is
$5,000,000. $5,000,000 to put into prevention.
I'm going to ask you for $10,000,000 to put into
DHHR into treatment. I'm going to ask you for
$10,000,000 for staffing and replacement and
maintenance of equipment at the training centers, at
the vo-tech centers.
And then I'm going to ask you that if I -- if
I'm an addict, and I go to treatment and I get better
and then I go into some level of training and I get a
certificate, that you will be able -- I will be able to
take that to a court and get immediate expungement of a
misdemeanor that I have. Not felonies, but a
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I want to tell you one more
time how it's going to work. Through the surpluses
that we have today, I want to take $20,000,000 out of
those surpluses, through an appropriation, $20,000,000
out of their surpluses, and buy all the necessary
equipment that I'm going to have to have at all of
these centers to be able to do the level of training
that I think needs to be done.
Now, think about it. You can't go learn how to
drive a pickup truck and go to a surface mine job and
tell them you can drive a 777 rock truck.
You can't go to somewhere and learn how to tack
weld and go to a -- you know, to an industrial site and
say you're an industrial welder. These people can't
get jobs. Let's just tell it like it is. They can't
And if we lay -- if we lay the burden on our
continue -- on our ongoing budget, we lay a burden on
that we say we need $50,000,000 ongoing to be able to
perpetuate a program like this, we don't need that. We
don't need that.
It's time to start to be able to have the
equipment onsite to be able to teach the welding, to
teach the electrician stuff, to teach the heavy
equipment operation, to teach and build our work force.
You know, I heard it 10,000 times. I don't know
how to say it any better. Companies all over the place
come in my office and they talk and they talk and they
talk and then they say, "Well, you don't have a
qualified work force here. I don't know how in the
world we can come here."
The other thing: "You've got people who can't
pass a drug test." I say, why don't we train them?
Why don't we train people to do something? Why aren't
we training people? Why don't we absolutely, some way,
somehow, let our people that are struggling on drugs
beyond belief go get treatment and go get treatment for
free, provided that they'll come out of treatment and
go into some level of training and provided they'll
take constant drug tests? Why don't we absolutely
train our work force and give those people hope?
I don't get it. Now, we have too many ideas,
too many ideas. Let me fail. Let me fail. Give me
the ball. Just let me fail. Absolutely, I promise
you, I'll run across the finish line, and I won't fail.
Our State Police had our first cadet class not
long ago. We just started on Monday our second cadet
class. They need a few dollars to update the forensic
lab, and I've got that in the budget.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Child welfare is a real
issue. Of course, everyone knows my commitment and how
I feel about kids. Foster care, we're really upside
down, and we've got to figure out the foster care
crisis, and I'm going to challenge all of you all to
bring me -- bring me solutions. Bring me answers of
what we can do.
I want to begin immediately -- I want to take
$10,000,000 directly out of the surplus moneys that we
have now, and I've got $5,000,000 in the budget to
immediately build back the Anthony Correctional Center.
We need it built back.
As far as medical cannabis, we need to solve the
riddle, guys. We're running out of time. There's a
lot of people out there that are hurting, and they
could probably very well use medical cannabis.
I want everyone here to understand --
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: I want everyone here to
understand this and understand me loud and clear. I am
adamantly, adamantly, etched in stone, adamantly
against recreational marijuana.
Today -- and this is the fun stuff. Today, I'm
requesting the elimination of the business inventory
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Since the first day I came,
I'm a business guy. I haven't changed. I'll tell you
the truth. I'll tell you what I think. I think -- and
I make mistakes. I'm a business guy.
I know that wherever we can, we look for -- and
we found waste upon waste upon waste that we've been
able to cut out. We found ways to streamline
government, and now today, we can streamline even more.
We have found 2007 jobs in government today that
have not been filled in the last year. They have been
vacant for a year, and we want to eliminate them all.
Now, I don't mean this in any way to sound like
a tough guy or whatever, but I meant it when I said
that as far as -- I've done this job for nothing. And
if you're going to do something for nothing and put
your heart in it, you're not going to stand back and
stand there comfortably with your buddies and your
friends wasting money and just have everybody on the
dole and think it's okay. It's not okay.
And whenever I can find it, I'm going to uncover
it. And when I uncover it, I'm going to try to do
something about it.
Tonight, we have another special person with us.
She's with the AARP. Her name is Gaylene Miller. And
if Gaylene could stand, wherever Gaylene is.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: And Gaylene, don't sit back
down, Gaylene. Stand, if you would, just for one
second. Because together, you and I and all this great
body -- I have sent up, and now today -- today is the
time for us to eliminate the tax on Social Security.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Oh. Was that one of
your members that was ringing that bell? Okay. Let me
just say this, that what we're going to do in regard to
Social Security is two things. We're going to give you
a choice. If you want the $8,000 deduction, you can
keep that. You can't keep -- have them both. If you
don't want that and you want totally exempt on your
Social Security from State income tax, you've got that.
It's time to create an Intermediate Court of
Appeals in West Virginia. It's another step forward to
instill -- to restoring honor and integrity back to the
I've just got a couple more, and I'll go
quickly. Not long ago, our mine rescue teams, they
brought three people out of a mine, and all of us know
that without any question, they had no business being
in the mine.
All of us know that maybe we just need to
stiffen our laws even more to make it more of a
deterrent for them to go. I'm all for that. I am 100
percent for that.
But I would tell you just this: They're our
brothers and our sisters. They were in there. And
just think, the mine rescuers -- I said, "Can you tell
me -- can you tell me they're not there? Can you tell
me that it's unsafe to go and try again?"
And they said, "We can't tell you that. But we
feel like that it's not -- it's not unsafe, and we
could go, but we don't think that they're alive," or
"We really don't think that they're there."
But they weren't willing to quit, and neither
was I. And lo and behold, we brought them out of
there. Your brothers. Your sisters. They shouldn't
have been there in the first place.
But just think: What if we had not gone back?
What would have happened to those people? And if you
can live with this -- I can't. We went back and we did
exactly what my dad always said to do: "Damn you,
there's always something you can do, and you better
damn well always remember that."
We went back, and we found them. If we hadn't
have gone back, you know what we would have done? We
would have taken a D11 bulldozer and we would have
pushed dirt against the mine opening so tight that
there's no way somebody could get into the mine. And
what would have happened to those people?
They had water; they had air. They would have
set there until they starved to death. Starved to
death. That's what would have happened to them.
We found them. They shouldn't have been there.
We should make the laws tougher, but we should
celebrate that West Virginians found them. I couldn't
be any more proud.
GOVERNOR JUSTICE: Now, I'll end by just telling
you this: There's a guy not long ago, he set in my
office and he said, "What about this job keeps you up?
What about this job keeps you up at night?"
Well, I'll surprise you when I tell you this:
What keeps me up is just this: Too many people out
there, too many people out there still haven't heard
the news. Too many of our people, no question, are
still hurting. But too many of our people believe
still that they really just should be 50th and stay
By God, you should know your place. Too many of
our people need to hear the good things that we're
doing. Too many of our people need to pull the rope
all together with us. They want to be -- they want to
feel good. They want to feel joy in what they do.
Now, let me tell you just this, and this is all
there is to it: I came to you again wanting nothing; I
came to you just as a man that had incredible
experience, a man who's probably made so many mistakes,
maybe as many mistakes as there is in this room, and
I've learned from them.
I've done all kinds of stuff. You learn. I've
got a tremendous amount of wisdom, and absolutely, I
would challenge every single person here to know that
all I want to do is help. All I want to do is try to
do all the good that can be done for our people, and
whether I'm here on this planet two more days or with
you two more years or with you six more years, I would
say "Use me. I'm a resource that can be used, and I'm
a resource that can help."
Now, I think big. I think create -- with a lot
of creativity. Absolutely, look at my track record.
I'm not going to let you down. I'm absolutely not
going to let you down.
So at the end of the day -- I've said this over
and over and over. I meant it when I came here and
said everything that I just got through telling you. I
meant it when I said over and over and over that all
I've ever really wanted for this state is goodness and
its people. That's all I want.
And I meant it when I said to the people, and
I've said to you, that I love you. And I do.
So with that, I'd say God bless you, and thank
you again for having me, and let's get to work and do
great work. Thank you all.