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Romine resignation opens door in 16th District

July 28, 2018

The resignation of Cabell County Republican Delegate Chuck Romine adds to the election intrigue. Now, presumably, the 16th Delegate District GOP executive committee will send the names of candidates to Gov. Jim Justice as possible replacements.

According to the information I had at press time, those names were likely to go to Justice on Friday and would presumably include at least two of the Republican nominees for this fall, John Mandt and Daniel Linville. Both are conservatives endorsed by Right to Life.

Giving either Mandt or Linville the appointment would be a boost to their chances of winning in November.

More and more events are planned as the November general election draws closer. From simple meet and greets, to organized debates and individual fundraisers, voter-candidate contact is what makes the world go around.

Current state Delegate Kelli Sobonya, a Republican running for Cabell County Commission, will greet special guests U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, Rep. Evan Jenkins and State Auditor J.B. McCuskey at a cookout/fundraiser she has planned for next Tuesday, July 31. It begins at 5:30 p.m. at Barboursville’s Sentiment Clubhouse.

Sobonya is attempting to unseat veteran Democrat County Commissioner Bob Bailey.

Informed voters are the best voters — usually. When candidates make themselves available, it is always wise to visit and talk with them. Watch this newspaper for announcements.

The term “sole source” apparently takes on new meaning when it comes to the Charleston Civic Center. A number of invoices recently raised eyebrows when it was found that the Department of Education paid more than $99,000 for food and a service charge to provide for those attending Kidstrong conferences at the newly-refurbished site. DOE Executive Director of Communications Kristin Margolin Anderson confirmed that 1,000 attendees were served.

Anderson pointed out that the event is a combination of several others and is designed to bring cost efficiency. She noted that the conference provides professional development for teachers and service personnel, and continuing education hours for nurses, social workers, counselors, medical providers and pharmacists.

She added that the Civic Center allows only Distinctive Gourmet to cater the food. Under the current scenario, one wonders why participants don’t forego eating at the event and walk across the street to The Chop House. With a group discount, they could surely save money on $100 meals.

Anderson did say DOE uses “leveraged funds” and other organizations chip in.

If the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals set a goal of looking as slimy as possible, they could hardly do better. With one justice indicted on 23 counts, another having resigned under a cloud, and the U.S. Attorney and legislature investigating all, it’s difficult to look good.

“So why try?” is apparently the slogan.

When the legislature decided to tour the court’s quarters where millions of taxpayer dollars were arguably spent on imperial decorations, the court said the press and public could not attend. That did not endear them to many. Finally, they reluctantly gave in but not without stipulations.

Then, while the investigations mentioned are ongoing, the court’s own appointed Judicial Investigation Commission stepped forward to exonerate three of the justices for their own costly “working lunch” meals and travel to such events as political rallies in a state car with a state chauffeur.

It would be difficult to believe the JIC report came at what a mere peon might think was a self-serving time but it came nevertheless.

Most incredibly, perhaps, the letter clearing Justice Robin Davis even recounts how the justice stopped at a political rally in Parkersburg and a political event at the Raleigh County Armory while on court business trips but assures us all that both were “incidental to court business.” The justice was driven in a state car by a state security officer for the excursion. The conclusion? “The travel was for court business and the political events were ancillary, did not require additional travel, or expense payments.”

Incredibly, I was once disciplined for driving a county vehicle 10 miles from one county business meeting to a county event. I have criticized others for the same thing. I owe many, including Mingo County Sheriff James Smith, an apology if it is OK for him to drive a sheriff’s cruiser to a political rally.

Oh my.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.

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