Tomblin visits Bavarian Inn
Acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin visited Shepherdstown Wednesday afternoon, attending a luncheon sponsored by the Shepherdstown Business Association to discuss the future of West Virginia and the work he has done as governor.
Tomblin, who assumed the position as governor after Joe Manchin was elected to the U.S. Senate last fall, will compete in the special primary this May against five other democratic candidates.
The governor addressed a crowd made up of local and state officials, representatives from the university and Shepherdstown residents and business leaders.
Meredith Wait, president of the SBA, offered opening remarks at the lunch held at the Bavarian Inn.
She discussed the SBA’s desire to build more connections with county and state officials in order to deal with some of the issues facing Shepherdstown.
She expressed the SBA’s “difficulty establishing partnerships.”
Wait said that during the time between her first endeavor as SBA president in 1991 and now, she’s seen many changes in Shepherdstown, though some of the major concerns remain the same, like parking, an issue Wait hoped to work on in cooperation with the governor.
Tomblin began his speech by expressing his appreciation for the invitation to meet with residents of the Eastern Panhandle.
“It’s always good to be back in the Eastern Panhandle,” he said.
According to Tomblin, who said he’s visited the Eastern Panhandle three or four times since taking over as governor four months ago, the primary reason for his visit was to address the Environment Protection Agency ruling regarding the Chesapeake Bay watershed areas.
Tomblin noted the impact the stricter guidelines for the construction of plants around the area could have on continued development in the Eastern Panhandle.
He assured Mayor Jim Auxer that a portion of the funding provided in the bill sponsored by Sen. Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson, that passed during the last legislative session will go toward the plant Shepherdstown has started building.
Gov. Tomblin went on to highlight some of the accomplishments he feels the state has achieved as well as some the problems it still faces.
He said West Virginia is “one of the few state’s in the nation with a surplus.”
Tomblin pointed to the recent decision by Macy’s to locate its distribution plant in the Eastern Panhandle as an example of the positive business climate West Virginia offers.
“We are a good place to do business,” he said.
When asked about strengthening communication between the Eastern Panhandle and the rest of the state, Tomblin discussed the roll redistricting will play in increasing the Eastern Panhandle’s visibility in state government.
He said that with the population increases throughout the three counties in the Eastern Panhandle, the numbers of state senators and delegates will soon likely increase.
“I feel like you’re a part of the state,” Tomblin said. “We’re all West Virginians at the end of the day.”