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Justice and Salango discuss COVID-19 and economic development ahead of Election Day

Published: Oct. 29, 2020 at 7:22 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Even as Wood County leads West Virginia in early voting, there are still thousands of locals trying to decide who should be governor come 2021. Undoubtedly, one of the major issues on the minds of voters and candidates alike is the COVID-19 pandemic.

The person making a lot of the calls impacting daily life this year has been Governor Jim Justice, who is running for reelection on the Republican ticket. He says there is more work to be done, but he’s proud of what the state has already accomplished.

“It’s really doggone tough to argue with what we have done, the decisions we have made. First in the nation in stopping visitation at the nursing homes, first in the nation to test all the nursing homes,” said Justice. “We’re on a path to get through this, but we’re not there yet.”

While Justice touts his successes, Democratic challenger Ben Salango says the state hasn’t done enough to help small businesses survive the economic crash brought on by the pandemic.

“You know there was $1.25 billion that was allocated from congress. Only $300 million has been spent. We got to make sure that we’re getting that out to our small businesses. We got to keep them open. Our restaurants are still struggling. Lots of small businesses are still struggling. We’ve got to get that money out quickly to keep our small businesses still open, keep people employed,” said Salango.

Recovering from the pandemic is one thing, but most voters want to see continued economic growth once coronavirus is a distant memory.

In our area, Governor Justice is hoping to one day bring the long-promised cracker plant to life.

"It got just pushed to the side. It’s not gone anywhere. It’s just been pushed to the side by impeachment, or Russia or COVID or an election,” said Justice. “My job is to rekindle that fire. It’s sitting there on the sideline. It’s not going anywhere. Really and truly you will see that opportunity in Wood County someday.”

Meanwhile, Salango will apply the same plan he has for other regions of West Virginia to our neck of the woods. That plan is to focus on what works for the area and apply the right resources where it counts.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re focusing on what each area of the state does best. In the Mid-Ohio Valley we’ve got to make sure we’re bringing in more manufacturing. Make sure we’re taking care of vocational and technical training, so when those kids get out of high school they have opportunities here, so they don’t have to move to Columbus or Cincinnati. We want to keep them right here in Wood County,” said Salango.

Election day is Tuesday, November 3.

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