HUNTINGTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice spoke with dozens of community leaders from across at the state Thursday, who came together this week for the 2019 West Virginia Municipal League Conference in Huntington.
“I congratulate you for all that you’ve done,” Gov. Justice said. “You are the engine. Your cities, your towns, your villages make us go, that’s all there is to it. You create the opportunities. Your voice should be heard at the top of the ladder every day because, at the end of the day, you make us a state.”
This year marks the 50th Annual WVML Conference. The milestone event was held at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena.
The WVML is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of cities, towns and villages established in 1968 to assist local governments and advance the interests of their citizens. The League achieves this directive through legislative advocacy, research, education and other services for municipal elected officials.
All 231 municipalities within West Virginia are members of the WVML.
“You are our engines. You are everything to this state. Everything starts with you, that’s just all there is to it, you are the ones that drive the boat,” Gov. Justice said. “From that standpoint, I want you to know that I want to help in any and every way I can.
“I am only interested in one thing, and that is getting stuff done; getting meaningful stuff done, that makes West Virginia and all of our citizens better.”
The three-day conference aims to educate, as well as provide a wealth of networking opportunities for these community leaders. The event included several informative workshops, ranging from how to secure grants, to providing more security in today’s technologically-driven world, to learning more about ways for communities to combat the opioid epidemic.
During his address, Gov. Justice told the municipal leaders in attendance that they need to work hard to continue the state’s recent positive momentum.
“We could sit back on our laurels, and we can say, ‘Well, we’ve done better. We took West Virginia from being dead last in several different categories to being first or second; whether it be growth, or personal income growth, or construction jobs, or revenue, or GDP.’” Gov. Justice said. “We can say, ‘Boy, how great we’ve done.’
“But, you know, we’ve still got so many people out there that are hurting and things we can still do to make things much better. And the thing you can’t imagine is that we’re just now finally on the launchpad. We haven’t launched to the degree that we can. It’s just sitting here waiting on us right now.”