Every election, we hear politicians scream about jobs, from how they are going to create them to who is responsible for killing them. With all the rhetoric coming from both Washington D.C. and the Capitol in Charleston, you would think we would either be flush with jobs or in a state of poverty. Neither is true. It’s time to speak the blunt truth – our state and federal governments have been hijacked by wealthy corporations and out-of-state interests who are interested in short-term, narrow-minded perks for themselves at the expense of the people of West Virginia.
That’s not to say that everyone, or every politician, is a bad person or doesn’t think they are doing the right thing. I think many do believe they are doing the right thing but the weight and power of out-of-state and crony capitalists are crushing the people’s will. In this last session, we had the opportunity to provide a real tax cut to West Virginians struggling to make ends meet. After much fanfare, the leadership of our state legislature presented their tax cut which offered millions upon millions of dollars for wealthy individuals and corporations, and a whopping $20 for the rest of us. That just isn’t fair. For too long, our people and our small businesses have been sold short – and it must stop.
We all sat back in awe and watched our state’s teachers and school service employees declare “Enough is enough” to the system of cronyism and self-interest in Charleston. Despite the overwhelming odds, these determined men and women stood up and fought the powers that dominate our state – and won, for now anyway. The sad thing is people should never need to have an all-out strike to get government to listen and respond. Lawmakers in Charleston should have been doing the right thing not just this year, but for years. I was proud to stand with them but I also understand that hundreds of thousands of workers across West Virginia have their backs to the wall just like our public employees.
For the last four years in Charleston, state legislative leadership has declared war on working West Virginians. From the repeal of prevailing wage laws designed to ensure a living wage for workers and keep foreign labor from taking our jobs, to the enactment of so-called “Right to Work” laws that lower the wages of working families, our citizens have never been under such siege. If politicians in Charleston really want to grow our economy, then don’t start by lowering the wages of regular folks and give it to wealthy, out-of-state corporations.
Our people need quality, affordable health care. Our people need a living wage that can support a family. Our people need access to 21st-century jobs that will let them stay here at home without being driven away like the ten lost tribes. Our children need quality schools staffed by qualified teachers. We have reached a point in our state, that unlike our neighbors, many need access to safe, reliable drinking water. These are the problems I went to Charleston to solve – not how we can water down property rights and force you to give up your property or give tax breaks to people who don’t need them.
Since I came to Charleston, I have tried to fight for all of us who don’t have seven digit incomes. If we are going to survive, we need to get back to the basics of government. And that is a government for the people – all of the people.
As always, feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns at 304 593-5010, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I appreciate your trust and support.
Delegate Scott Brewer (D-New Haven), represents the 13th District in the West Virginia House of Delegates.