Governor Gives Joint Session Speech
By WV Delegate Jeff Eldridge, (D-22nd)
On February 8th, 2017, new West Virginia Governor James “Jim” Justice, II, (D) addressed the Joint Assembly of the Legislature for his first State of the State. His main focus of the speech was the state budget.
He said there are options on how to fix the hole in the budget. One is to cut more. He said only so many cuts can be made before state parks, colleges and universities, funds for senior citizens, funds for the military and other services could be eliminated.
Justice also proposed tax increases. There were four increases he suggested. First, a ½ penny addition to sales tax. Next, he said he would like to see DMV fees to be brought up from $30 to $50. A fee, he said, hasn’t been raised in 40 years. Third, he said he’d like there to be a 2/10 of 1 percent tax for businesses. Lastly, he said he’d like to see a 10 cent tax on gas. He said these increases could help the current budget situation.
According to Justice, the ½ penny sales tax and the business tax would be gone after three years, because the state would have recovered enough that they would be unnecessary. He also stated his goal of West Virginia becoming the 8 th state in the country without an income tax.
He also proposed his road project, which would create 43,000 jobs, complete the highway system, and help the tourism industry. He also wants to raise tolls on the turnpike to $3, but also charge a DMV fee of $8 which would keep West Virginia residents from paying tolls and tolls would be collected from out of state travelers.
Justice said he’d like to see two drug treatment facilities open, one in Charleston and one in the Eastern Panhandle, as well as finishing the Veterans Facility in Beckley.
He wants giant education reform. He wants to give the power back to the local level for education. He wants to raise classroom teachers pay 2 percent. He wants to do away with the yearly school grades, because he feels too many schools are falling into the “C” category. Having “C” schools is not making people want to move here, because people want to go where their children can receive a good education, he said.
Justice said West Virginia is the “perfect candidate with what President Trump wants to do with bringing manufacturing back to the U.S.” He wants to bring the furniture making industry to West Virginia. He wants to get coal and gas back up and going. He wants the DEP to work with companies to find a way for them to produce their resources, instead of saying “no” to them. He believes re-organizing the tourism department would be beneficial and by using better marketing tactics more people will come visit the state.
According to Justice, he has already started looking at government consolidation. He wants to cut duplicate roles and eliminate excess state vehicles. He suggested having a car auction. He’s also going to hire someone to comb through budgets to find excess money.
In the closing of his speech, Gov. Justice submitted his budget to the legislature.
Please click here to view Justice’s speech.
Following is a transcript of Justice’s speech as provided on his website:
“Unless y’all are all
wanting to be here all night, you got to quit this
clapping so much. That’s all there is to it.
Thank you so, so much. Speaker Armstead,
President Carmichael, members of the Board of Public
Works, Justices of the Supreme Court of Appeals, Senate
Minority Leader Prezioso.
How about that? And I got that the first
time. Roman said I did pretty good with that.
House Minority Leader Miley, and all our
great legislators. Tonight is a really important night,
You know, I want before we get into the meet and potatoes
of what I have to say, I want to recognize a couple of
people. These four people came with our great Speaker
Armstead. These four people are principals that suffered
through a 1,000-year flood. You know, I firsthand know
what the flood was all about, and it was beyond belief
I don’t know where they are, but if they
can stand: Mike Kelly, the Principal of Herbert Hoover;
Missy Lovejoy, the Principal of Elkview Middle; Cindy
Cummings, the Principal of Bridge Elementary; and Vanessa
Brown, the principal of Clendenin Elementary.
Your courage goes way, way, way beyond
being unnoticed. You know, it took wisdom and strength
and courage to some way, somehow, battle back. We got a
long ways to go. But that’s what we do.
There’s another group here it’s called KVC
Health Systems. And there is a CEO that’s a national
CEO. His name is Jason Hooper. And let me tell you what
they’re doing. They’re going to bring a college
basically for foster kids to Montgomery. A place that
really needs us, needs our jobs, needs hope. The great
Gordon Gee of WVU have been terribly instrumental in
this. Wherever you are, Jason and your team, please
stand as well.
Now, stay with me. Isn’t this place
reverent. Hallowed ground. Tonight I’m going to do the
best in my ability to deliver a speech that I think is
phenomenally important. There is no question there’s
been speech after speech delivered here. I am telling
you, I can’t possibly imagine that there is a time as
dire and a time as important as tonight.
Now, let me tell you. There is no
question we’ve been fiftieth forevermore. We’re better
than that. Now, like it or not like it, we’re dying
fiftieth. This is the most difficult and the biggest
depression that we could ever possibly imagine. The
biggest of the biggest.
Now, let me tell you this. On a little
bit of light humor. But there is a fellow, his name is
Ricky Mokel. He’s a comedian. He said as a child he was
hyper, and his dad gave him a shovel. And he used to
love to dig. And he would dig and dig and dig and dig
and dig and dig to the point in time where he couldn’t
get out of the hole. And then he said, “What’s the use?
There’s no point in digging anymore, is there?”
Well, he says it to be funny. Because
then he turned, and he said he and his dad had a password
at that point in time. And when he would get to where
there was no way he could get out of the that hole, he
would go: Help! Help! And his dad would come and get
Well, trust me. We got to quit digging.
We are such in the hole that we got to quit digging. We
got to quit working against one another. We’ve got to
some way hold hands with each other and run across the
finish line together. We’ve got to have new ideas, and
I’ll get to those in just a few minutes.
The other thing is just this. You’ve
honored me beyond belief. You elected me as your
Governor, a person that had never been a politician, in
the wake of me running as a Democrat, at a time when
Donald Trump won our state by 17,000 million percent.
Now, there had to be a reason. And the
reason is just this simple. And if I make some people
mad, I just make them mad. But the people knew that it
didn’t matter to me. It didn’t matter to me if you were
a Democrat or Republican, an independent, all that
mattered to me was one thing. And that was that you are
West Virginians. And I’m a West Virginia. And I just
want goodness for our state. I’ve said it over and over
Now, there will be somebody that will be
on some witch hunt to try to beat on me about something.
But I want again to announce to the world in every way.
I, nor my family, want anything from this other than
goodness for you and our state.
Now, let me tell you. You’ve trusted me
with your vote. I absolutely need you now to trust me
with your voice. Now, you don’t see any teleprompters
here. You know, a lot of news media said, you know, he’s
folksy. I didn’t know that I knew how to spell that.
But there are sure no teleprompters. But
you see, my definition of that would be plain talk. And
that’s what I think West Virginians want to hear.
Now, the truth is, it’s time for gigantic
decisions. The past four years, no matter how hard we’ve
tried, we’ve lived off Rainy Day. And we’ve lived off
the low-hanging fruit that we could cut away. We have.
We’ve cut probably $600 million of waste. And we’ve cut
the Rainy Day Fund into half.
Now, this year, right now, you’re going to
have to cut the Rainy Day Fund 123 million more dollars.
No way around it. Right now. What are you going to
have? 500 million. What are you going to do? What you
going to do? You’re faced with a $500 million hole in
the bucket. And the next year is a $700 million hole in
the bucket. If you cut Rainy Day more, the rate holders,
the people that create our rates for our bonds are going
to torpedo us.
We’ve got issues. We’ve got real
problems. So I want to tell you this. I don’t mean this
in any bad way, because I’m the one that signed up to run
for Governor. But we’ve got an 18 carat dog’s mess,
don’t we? We do. I didn’t create the dog’s mess. I
have inherited the dog’s mess. And I am telling you, you
have to have real direction and real ideas and real
cooperation together to be able to get out of this.
Now, there is two ways. Two ways you can
get there. And you got to forgive me, I’m not nervous,
but I just sweat a lot. A lot. And I got a bad knee,
and man does it hurt.
But there’s two ways you can get out of
it — or a combination of ways. The first way is to just
cut more. Cut more. Well, let me tell you just this.
Just think about this just for a second. Are you
willing — are you willing to eliminate all of our state
parks? Are you willing to eliminate all of your colleges
and universities other than Marshall and WVU? Shut them
down? Are you really willing to close our tracks, to not
have dogs, and to not have horses? Are you really truly
willing to gut your seniors? Are you willing to turn our
backs on our vets?
I can’t get there. I can’t get you there.
Because you know why? Because at the end of what I’ve
just said, you’re halfway home. What then are you going
to do? What is West Virginia going to become? A nuclear
waste site? Is it going to become the place where our
nation sends all of its prisoners all of the time. Are
we not better than that?
Now, let me give you just this scenario.
Here’s an analogy. You got a factory. We’re the
factory. You’ve got a factory. The factory has got a
$100 million in the bank. The factory is $200 million
upset down. Think about it. How we going to fix it?
Here is what we can do. Take the hundred
million away from the factory just like that. We got a
hundred million dollars upside-down. Then I tell you
what’s let’s do next. Let’s cut 25 percent of the people
off. And then I tell you what else let’s do. Let’s cut
the wages of everybody else there by 20 percent. And
you’re still not there.
So I tell you what let’s do, let’s sell 75
percent of the equipment out of the factory. And then,
we in here will go home and say, “We did it. We balanced
the budget.” And you know what will happen? The sun
will come up tomorrow, and we’ll say: Holy horse,
whatever, the factory is dead. The factory is gone. So,
that’s where you are.
Now, I’m a business guy. And I know this
stuff. Now, let me just do this. Let me just tell you
this. I truly believe that any cuts that are out there
that somebody can bring me that’s not going to just
stifle us as a patient, I’m for. I am delivering to you
$30 million worth of cuts. It won’t hardly move the
needle. I am telling you our decisions are not tough
decisions. They’re catastrophic decisions.
Now, I really want you to pay close
attention, because I truly from the bottom of my heart
hate tax increases. Hate them. I really do. But I want
to show you the most painless way that I think you can
get out of this mess.
Now I’m going to come around here and
write. Here’s what you gotta do. You gotta cut all that
we can possibly cut. I’ve got to have everybody in this
state pay a half of a penny in additional sales tax.
There is no way around it.
I’ve got to have you pay instead of $30 in
DMV fees, I’ve got to have you pay 50.
The other thing is this, in trying to be
fair, in trying to just be fair. The people are here.
Here is your people. Here’s your people. Here’s your
businesses. I’ve got to have our businesses — there’s
lots of different ways to look at this — pay two
two-tenths of one percent in a tax that would be
equivalent to a B&O tax. It is a tax that Ohio charges
25 percent — or 25 hundredths. We would charge 20.
And the other last thing I will talk to
you about is I’ve got to have ten cents a gallon on
Now, I am telling you: If you don’t do
this, you’re dead. You’re dead beyond belief.
Now, let me go back over here and come
back — well, before I go, I’m going to stay with you a
second. On these two right here, this one and this one,
I want to sunset them. Three years. I think if you do
what I am trying to propose to you to do, you can get rid
of this, and you can get rid of this in three years.
Now, this deals with your roads. And this
does too. Now, let me tell you this. I said a minute
ago, I am adamantly against raising your taxes. We have
got to find a way to not completely kill the patient.
Now, look what happens. Three years, this
goes away. Three years, this goes away. I’ll tell you
about this in just one second.
I want to tell you one last thing. My
goal — Jim Justice’s goal as your Governor — is to do
one thing, and that is to be the eighth state in this
country with no income tax. None.
Now, that’s my goal. I hate like crazy to
deliver to you what you have to do. That’s my goal.
Now, remember, I said what I said about a
half a penny. What would you rather do? Would you
rather have your school plummeted even more. Your
seniors just for gotten. Your vets forgotten. Your
parks closed. Fairmont State shut down. On and on and
on. Or would you be willing as a peoples to say: I’m
willing to pay a half penny more. And I’m willing as a
business to step up and pay two-tents of one percent.
Because I love West Virginia. And we’re going somewhere.
Now, listen here. If you pay — if you
way ten cents more for gasoline, and a little bit more on
your DMV fees, that’s going to turn into this. Here’s
what it’s going to do. It will turn into $2.8 billion.
Now, just stay with me. I have four
wonderful people back here. And I want you to understand
wholeheartedly what your ten cents and almost nothing in
DMV fees — that haven’t been raised in 40 years — Think
about it. Almost nothing. I am asking you to do, to
turn into that. And then let me show you what we can do.
Y’all bring this on down.
Now, with us tonight is
Kevin Coll, Andy Estep, Brooke Rumbaugh, and Cody Webb.
Brooke and Cody are students studying engineering at
Marshall and WVU. And Andy and Kevin already work with
us in Highways.
If you’ll do this. You see those jobs.
You see ’em? We can let every single road job that is on
the books for one to three, and three to five years,
tomorrow. We can let them all tomorrow. Think what this
would do. Just imagine what it will do. I’ll tell you
what it will do. It will create 48,000 jobs in our
state. 48,000 jobs. It will complete the network that
we have got to do. It will make you tourism explode in
this state. Honest to Pete. This is the 800-pound
gorilla in the room. Not me.
Now, there’s two other things I want to
do. And I’m going to sit because I’m sweating too much.
I want to bid every one of these road jobs
specifically labor intensive. And you know what I want
to do from that? I want it to be our training ground. I
want it to be our apprenticeship program. I want it to
be something that will absolutely put our displaced
miners that find a job here, or our young people that
learn how to do something here. That’s an opportunity.
Now, let me tell you what else I want to
do. For all the successful bidders, I want to charge
them a 5 percent construction severance, whatever tax
that may be, whatever you want to call it, to the
successful bidder only. And my bet is, people, like me
in business, will sharpen your pencils like crazy and it
won’t cost us 5 percent. It may cost us one. And then
you know what I want to do? I want to pool that money.
That money right there is $2.4 billion. If I could let
every job tomorrow, it would amount to $120 million of a
5 percent pool that I would have.
And then you know what I want to do with
it? I want to fix the drug problem. If we don’t fix the
drug problem in this state, it will cannibalize you.
We have to have stiffer laws. There’s no
question whatsoever, a drug pusher that rolls in here —
You guys can roll.
— a drug pusher that rolls in here from
Detroit and selling drugs, he ought to know that this is
not going to be a fun program if we catch him. We
absolutely have to have a pathway to get our people that
are hooked on these terrible drugs back into the
community of the workforce. We have to do something with
all the prescription drugs. No question whatsoever about
that. But we have to have treatment facilities too.
I would propose today if we do this, and
those dollars flow, I would propose immediately building
a facility in Charleston, one in the Eastern Panhandle,
and I know the veterans are waiting on the dollars to
come from the fireworks tax and everything to build their
facility in Beckley. And I would like to skim off some
of this money to help them be able to get that facility
Let me go to education. Guys, I’m a
coach. I’m in the school all the time. We’ve proven how
to be dead last. If you had gone around me and had these
round table discussions and listened — just listened.
You see, that’s what I did. And I just listened. You got
a bunch of really, really sad unhappy campers. So I
think we need gigantic education reform.
Here’s what I would do. I would submit a
bill, and I will immediately, to eliminate any of the
unnecessary bureaucracies that we have. We have got to
return education back as much as we possibly can to a
local level. I have put in my budget a 2 percent raise
for all classroom teachers, and I am ashamed —
— I’m ashamed that we can’t do more.
Now, as far as testing, we are testing our kids t-totally
to death. For what? I mean, here’s the bottom line.
Think about it. If we were knocking it out of the
park — you see, I’m all results oriented. If we were
knocking it out of the park, you could argue with me
we’re doing the right thing. But for crying out loud,
we’re dead last. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to
figure this out. We got to be doing something wrong.
That’s all there is to it. As far as the testing goes, I
am going to propose we throw Smarter Balance in the trash
can and we go to ACT testing.
Let me show you this. Think about A
through F for our schools. We do it on a bell curve.
Think about this. Who in the world comes up with this
stuff? These get an A. These get an F. All the big
meat and potatoes get a C. And we call out to the world
and say: Come to West Virginia. Our schools are mostly
I don’t get it. That’s got to go. A
through F is gone.
Now, there is a beautiful lady here
somewhere. Her name is Toni Poling. She’s our Teacher
of the Year. If she would stand. She teaches at
Now, also, wherever they are, the
beautiful lady Leah Curry, who is the West Virginia
President of Toyota; and the gentleman, Jim Fawcett of
Highmark is here somewhere, that made all that possible
as well. Thank you.
Let me tell you. I said throughout the
campaign, I said, education can be a revenue producer for
us, and everybody looks at me: How in the world?
There’s no way. There’s no way.
Everybody wants to go where your kids are
going to be educated the best. Businesses want to go
where your kids are going to be educated the best. We’ve
got good teachers. We’ve got low crime. We’ve got good
people. For crying out loud, we handcuff them every way
coming and going. We got to stop that. And listen here.
Maybe it’s a twist of words on revenue producers, but if
we could create an education mecca in West Virginia,
honest to Pete, people would come and you couldn’t beat
them away. It would be a revenue producer.
Now, I have to say: Jim Justice is no fan
Again, I’ll just tell you this. And I’ll
ask you: Are we this bad? Are we this desperate. You
know, tell you what we could do. We could close every
school in the state to save us some money, except we
could have one. And we could have just one somewhere
close to Charleston. And we’ll bus every kid four hours,
no more than four hours one way.
We’re not that bad. We just have to have
ideas. And we’ve got to have hope. Now, I truly mean
this. One of the flood ravaged towns that I truly
believe is coming back, and I can see it just like I can
see it tomorrow: I hope and pray that we end up with a
school in Richwood.
Now, let me tell you this. Our veterans
are phenomenally important. They’ve given everything to
us, haven’t they? Everything. Do we really take care of
them? I mean, for crying out loud, we can’t even
maintain their cemetery. We’ve got to do better. We
have to do better.
Now, I’ll be asking the Legislature to
approve the increasing of our GARVEE capacity. And this
one — before you go, “Oh, no,” I want you to listen.
I’ll be asking the Legislature to raise our tolls on the
turnpike a dollar.
Now, before you go crazy shooting at me,
let me just say this. I want — I want, through your DMV
fees, I want to charge everybody within our state eight
bucks. Eight dollars. Then I want you to drive on the
turnpike or whatever road that we would choose to toll
for free. So I want you to pay eight bucks, and I want
you to drive on our turnpike, wherever it may be, for
free. Or whatever road we toll for free. You see,
77 percent of our money is coming from out of state. If
we could raise it and make yours as West Virginians free,
other than eight bucks — now you may live in the Eastern
Panhandle and I would say to you: We need you to come
and visit Princeton some point in time.
Now, if you come, for your eight bucks,
we’re going to give you a 50 percent discount on the
tolls. Because you’re going to pay nothing. And by the
time you go through $3-$3-$3-$3-$3-$3 you’re going to feel like
you got a real bargain.
And I’ll tell you just this. Did you see
all those highways? Did you see all that? Well, I will
promise you there will be something that will be in your
neighborhood that will be tolled as well. As we go
forward there’s going to have to be something in your
neighborhood that will be tolled. And then the people
from Princeton can come and visit you. And they can come
for free too.
Now, I truly believe that we ought to tier
our severance tax on coal and gas. You know, it’s just
this simple. And our coal companies are really hurting.
And I know a lot about this. When they’re really
hurting, we got to step up and help them. And at that
point in time, we probably have to step up and lower the
severance tax. The same way with the gas.
But I am telling you, I am not a hog. I
eat too much, but I’m not a hog. If we have the bonanza
that I think is in front of us with coal — especially
metallurgical coals — what if? What if I were to tell
you, just this: Think about this for a second. If
coal — if coal is $35, whoever is mining that is losing
money. Lowering the severance tax on that to 2 percent,
or whatever you want to do, okay, I’m good. There’s got
to be a sweet spot to where we’re back to five.
What if it goes to $200 a ton? What
happens? Two hundred dollars. I know this. There’s no
way that your cost — anybody’s cost — is going to be
greater than $80. At this level right here, anybody’s
profit is $120 a ton.
Listen. I’m a grain of sand in the coal
business that I’ve been in. A grain of sand. And if we
mine 2 million tons and we make this kind of money, we
make $240 million in a year. We don’t need to make that
much money. At this point in time right here, this
severance tax needs to be 10 percent. All it would do is
lower the profitability to $110 a ton.
All I’m saying is just this: Like it, or
not like it, we have had our resources extracted from
West Virginia over and over and over, and at the end of
the rainbow, here we stand. We’re $500 million
upside-down. We can’t have it keep going on. We can’t
be a third-world country. You can’t do that.
Now, tourism. Tourism is so important to
our state. We can knock it out of the park, back double
triple. We probably need to reorganize the entire
Tourism Department. There’s ways to do that. And the
other thing you just got to simply put more money in it.
We better find a way to market ourselves. I said it a
million times. I said it in the inaugural speech. For
crying out loud, every time you turn the TV on it says:
Come to Michigan. Every time. I said in the inaugural
address, I said: Who in the world wants to go to
Michigan? I mean, really? You know, what if I called up
tomorrow and said, I tell you what let’s do, let’s get a
bus and let’s go to Detroit.
But do we market us? We don’t. We don’t.
We got to do that.
Now, let me tell you — and I’ll be quick,
because I know you’re tired of listening to me. Coal has
been so vital to us. It’s been unbelievable. We should
never forget who brung us to the dance. We should try
with all our soul, with all in us, to try to help get our
miners back to work.
There are other things. Natural gas just
fell out of the sky on us, didn’t it? We need to do
everything we can to exploit that to make it even better
and better and better and better. You know, there’s
issues within natural gas. I think it’s called joint
development, or lease integration, that they really want.
And I can’t possibly within me see: Why not? What’s
wrong with that? Why not?
Now, we can help that industry. Listen to
me on this. There are other things. I will be
submitting with Senator Capito and Senator Manchin
immediately — and I think that there’s a real shot — I
will be submitting whatever the form of a bill may be to
some way, somehow, try to drive furniture manufacturing,
flooring manufacturing, cabinetry, back right in our lap
to West Virginia.
It can truly be done. We’ve got to do it
through an environmental subsidy. That’s what has to be
done. You see I’m the agronomy end of our agriculture
stuff. I know about trees. I know about how they eat
all the carbon. And I know how when we take a piece of
wood like this to a dry kiln, the carbon is right here.
And I know when the tree falls on the ground and
eventually the carbon will be released back in the sky,
especially if you have a fire. And I know we only cut
one-third of our growth in West Virginia.
We are the perfect candidate for what
President Trump wants to do in bringing manufacturing
back to the United States, that today —
— today all of our furniture
manufacturing is in Vietnam, China and Mexico. I love
Vietnam China and Mexico. From a distance. I want stuff
Now, I got to say this about President
Trump. Many of you would wonder, but I am really good
friends with the Trump family. And I truly believe that
Donald Trump will do all he possibly can as our president
to help West Virginians. He will. He’s called me all
kinds of times, and his son Eric has called all kinds of
times, and now Don is probably going come and want to
come and go turkey hunting with me.
Not Donald. Because Donald is not a
turkey hunter. But let me tell you. He truly — he
truly, really identified with our miners. And he
understands the blight. And he’s a friend. If we give
him a chance, he’ll really try to help us.
Now, as we’re winding down here, I would
say there are certain things within government
consolidation that we can do. There’s no question. I
get it, I get it, I get it. We need to watch every penny
to try to save every dollar, on and on and on. I mean,
I’ve already started this. And for crying out loud, I
drive my own vehicle. We eliminated all the vehicles in
my little world. You know, we’re going to try to get rid
of some of the state’s aircraft. We’re absolutely —
Right now, we’ve identified 207 vehicles that we can
basically get rid of. And what I want to do is line them
up in front of the Capitol and have an auction and get
rid of them.
We can’t forget agriculture.
Agriculture — let me tell you. Furniture manufacturing.
It can help us. It may be two years away. Agriculture
can help us. It may be two years away. That’s why I
said a little while ago, that 800-pound gorilla is
setting right in your face right now.
When I bond that together, the gas tax and
the DMV fees, I’ve got to go to a vote. A vote of the
people. I’ve got to have 90 days after you approve it to
go to a vote. I am begging the people to call you and
drive you crazy to get to that vote. Because we have to
do that. We’ve got to do that and do that right now.
Now, and I believe — and I will do this
immediately, I will employ some person — gosh, I can’t
imagine being called this, a Waste Czar. But I’ll have
him absolutely dig into every agency known to man and try
to find any excess monies that have been shoved away and
hidden. And I’ll have him look. And I’ll have him try
Now, let me just give you my philosophy of
our regulatory agencies. My philosophy is just this.
You know, I’ve had the great gift to be able to hire so
many good people. Our cabinet choices and the people
we’ve surrounded ourselves with, we didn’t care if they
were republicans or democrats, independents. They’re
real good. They’re really good. I told the people at
the DMV, I told Austin Caperton — Austin said to me, he
said: What do you really want to see happen? The list
could be a mile long, couldn’t it. A lot of people would
say to Jim Justice: Jim, write a job description of what
Well, I could write and write and write,
couldn’t I? But the bottom line is just this. The right
person for the right job and they’re motivated. That’s
what Jim Justice does. Right person, right job, and
I told Austin Caperton, I said, Austin, we
have people coming from everywhere with any kind of
business request under the sun. A lot of times our
inspectors show up, and they show up — and I hate to say
this, because you’re going to probably think, boy, has he
really lost it now, but they show up with a T-shirt on
and a pair of old jeans. They maybe haven’t shaved
forever. And they got a badge in their pocket.
Now, listen, I think they ought to look
like something. And the other thing —
— and they will look like something, or
we’ll have them tending to Grisly Adams.
But the other thing is just this. No
matter what the request may be, I think that the first
words out of their mouths should be: We’re going to try
with all in us to do what you want to do.
Now, did you understand what I said? What
I said is just this. So many times our regulatory
agencies absolutely, no matter what on earth we try to
do, they’re there to tell you no. They’re not there to
tell us no.
Now, I underline — underline, underline,
underline — nobody loves the outdoors as much as me.
Nobody loves water as much as me. We’re not going to
break the law. We’re got going to do anything to damage
the environment to the very best of our abilities. Or
our waters. But we are not going to just say no.
Now, let me end — and you’re saying thank
God — let me end by just saying this. Please, not only
you, all the viewers that are out there, listen to me.
This situation is beyond dire. These people are trying.
I’ve had the great opportunity to meet with Mitch and Tim
and others, and all kinds of — Roman and the other Tim,
and on and on and on. Good people. They’re good.
They’re good people. And they want to try to help, just
like I want to try to help. But I am telling you to the
best that Jim Justice could possibly tell you, you
elected me to try to get us out of Ricky Mokel’s hole.
That’s what you elected me to do. New ideas. Aggressive
ideas. Bold ideas.
We’re dying. We are dying. It is so
bloomin’ bad, you can’t possibly imagine it. Now,
there’s a way out. There’s real prosperity in front of
us. There’s a way out.
I would tell you, a long, long time ago,
Frankenstein, he used to walk through the streets like
“boom, boom,” and I always thought, if you got caught by
Frankenstein, you deserve to die.
Now, I would tell you just this. If we
don’t do anything, and all we do is kick the can down the
road, and all we do is fight, then we deserve to die.
I really believe there’s a rocket ship
ride right at our fingerprints. A ride like you cannot
possibly imagine. I would say to you: Let’s don’t just
try to figure out how to just get by. Let’s cannonball
right in the middle of the pool. We can do this. We
absolutely can do it.
Now, I would say to the outside world:
Call all your legislators. Call all your in-laws and
your outlaws and your neighbors. Call them all. This is
a pathway. I’ve given you a real pathway. And I hope
that you’ll seriously consider it.
Now, it was folksy. It was just plain
talk. That’s all I know. We have an incredible,
incredible obligation and an unbelievable opportunity.
Now I would say with all these great people, all of you,
together, with this great body, you can have my heart and
soul. I will work with you with every ounce of being
that I have. Together, this great body and myself — and
this isn’t a very great body — but all of us will get
Now, let me tell you just this and then
I’ll end. My basketball teams, a lot of times they say
two words coming out on the floor. And they scream them.
And do you know the other night Tom Brady led a comeback
that was unbelievable, didn’t he? Unbelievable. No one
could have possibly imagined it. And you know what he
did? He took the Super Bowl trophy — I watched him do
this — he stood on that podium and he screamed, “Let’s
go!” After he had won.
Well, I’d say to you: Let’s go!
God bless you all. Thank you.”