WILLIAMSON – Jim Justice, Democratic Gubernatorial candidate, discussed the 2016 W.Va. governor’s race with the Williamson Daily News late Thursday afternoon.
On Tuesday, the first debate between Democrat Jim Justice and Republican Bill Cole was held at the Clay Center in Charleston.
Justice discussed the debate stating, “I thought the debate went great. It was easy to do what I have done all along and that’s try to not be a politician and tell people the truth. I told people that there is hope and there are real opportunities and we don’t need don’t need to be walking around like the sky has fallen. There are challenges and things we have to do but there is a lot we can do.”
Justice also discussed the coal industry. “It has been such an integral part of all of our lives in the state of W.Va. forever more, and I don’t think it is by any stretch of the imagination dead and gone. At the debate, it was like it wasn’t even relevant and I didn’t agree with that,” Justice stated.
Justice explained his plans to expand tourism in W.Va if elected. “I absolutely think that tourism could explode in our state. We have the four most unbelievable seasons on the planet. In addition to that, we have wonderful waters and wonderful mountains… It is endless. The problem as I see it is we don’t spend any money promoting our state. We spend peanuts compared to what other states spend… We know that when we spend a dollar, we get back six times that dollar just in tax dollar revenues. It is the best dollar we can spend. We can grow an industry that is right at our fingertips.” Justice cited his success at the Greenbrier Resort as an example of the possibilities in the tourism sector.
Justice explained that if elected governor, he would have no problem dealing with either presidential candidate Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump depending on November’s election outcome. “First of all, I have been a target of the EPA’s over- reach by every imaginative basis. The EPA is uncontrollable. The problem that drives the uncontrollable part is the end goal is to stop coal mining. It is not to restrict it, it is to stop it. That has to change. We have to have our voice heard… I have played golf with Bill Clinton and he said to me, ‘I want to come and see you. You seem like a reasonable talking guy and I like your ideas and your thoughts.’ Four months later he came to the Greenbrier and we talked about everything other the sun. It wasn’t a political thing. On the other side of the isle, Donald Trump, his entire family and I are close friends. I do business with Donald Trump. I have tried to stay out of the Washington thing. I have tried to stay focused on W.Va. but whoever is elected president I really feel like I will be able to work with them. The bottom line is we have to have some reasonableness in Washington and that always comes with demand…”
Justice explained that his experience as a businessman, not a politician and his love for W.Va. would make him an excellent choice as governor. “We have elected politician after politician and in every single case, why they may try to mean well, they all want something for their selves. You have never had a candidate that has a lot of experience in a lot of things… I love the outdoors and I don’t want to damage the environment and our water but for crying out loud, we have to be able to live and progress as human beings and there is a way to do all of this. You don’t have many people with the working knowledge that can articulate that on a federal level. Also, I absolutely love our state and it makes me sick beyond belief that we are dead last in a lot of things. I am not tooting my own horn but it is very seldom that you have someone come along that is willing to give up anything and everything to just to try to help. I don’t want anything. Absolutely nothing,” Justice said.
The next debate will be held next Tuesday, October 11 at 7:00 p.m. at the Clay Center in Charleston. It will be broadcast over several television and radio stations in the state. The moderator will be longtime radio announcer Hoppy Kercheval.
(Editor Kyle Lovern contributed to the story.)
(Courtney Harrison is a news reporter for the Williamson Daily News. She can be contacted at [email protected] or at 304-235-4242 ext. 2279.)