2019 West Virginia State of the State Address


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presented by

JANUARY 9, 2019


       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.  

And --

       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 

the kids.

       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 

our image.

       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.  

So --


              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 

unbelievably successful.

       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.

              (Video playing:)

              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)

              (Video ended.)


       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, 

great person.

       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 

right now.  

       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, 

it's unbelievable.

       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 

General Hoyer.


              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 

cannibalizing us.

       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 

live hope.

       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 

get jobs.

       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 

machinery tax.


       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.


       (Bell rang.)

              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.  

Your choice.

       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 

court system.

       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.



Contact Information

Butch Antolini, Butch.Antolini@wv.gov


Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305

Office Phone:
304.558.2000 or 1.888.438.2731

Governor's Mansion:

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