My name is Ben Anderson, and I am the chairman of the Greenbrier County Republican Party. As I write this editorial, I feel blessed to live not only in the greatest country in the world, but also in the most beautiful state and region in God’s creation, West Virginia’s Greenbrier Valley. I’m also truly thankful for the current Republican leadership in our state and county, who are working diligently to provide a better tomorrow. With all of the negativity and chaos in the world, I am writing this piece in a positive light to show all of the GOOD that is occurring in the nation and in West Virginia because of the leadership of President Trump and Republican officeholders in our state. There is no denying that since the last election, West Virginia and Greenbrier County have undeniably felt a positive impact as failed liberal policies of the past are being unraveled and being replaced with common sense, conservative statutes. Let’s break it down.
Let’s start with the opioid crisis. In the eight years prior to President Trump’s inauguration, prescription drug prices increased by an average of 3.6% per year. Under Trump, drug prices have seen year-over-year declines in nine of the last ten months, with a 1.1% drop as of the most recent month. Reducing drug prices naturally will help ease our state’s current opioid crisis, reducing the effect of the illicit drug market. President Trump has freed up billions in federal dollars to aid in the fight against the opioid pandemic. State Republican leadership has done its part. Through this year’s House Bill 4852, the penalty for the manufacture, delivery or possession of methamphetamine is increased, raising it to 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $25,000 fine. Also, through Senate Bill 42, beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, comprehensive drug awareness and prevention programs for students in grades K through 12 may include faith-based electives for drug awareness in classrooms.
One of the best ways to combat the opioid crisis is to create a stronger economy with better jobs and better wages. Republicans have been up to the task. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law by President Trump doubled the maximum amount of the child tax credit available to parents and lifted the income limits so more people could claim it. Many middle-class West Virginians have seen their tax returns more than double. Also as a result of the tax bill, small businesses will have the lowest top marginal tax rate in more than 80 years. Individuals have also enjoyed the overall simplification of tax law. On the statewide level, Republicans in West Virginia have eliminated the tax on social security and seek to (responsibly) eliminate the business & inventory tax. Local Republican candidates support an increase in the standard deduction for computing WV income taxes.
On top of this, regulations have been slashed and development is being incentivized rapidly. Because businesses have had their shackles loosened, the stock market continues to surge despite the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Your 401k and retirement are secure because of Republican policies! In West Virginia, Republicans this year created the West Virginia Impact Fund (House Bill 4001). This fund is designed to help attract outside capital to West Virginia that can be used to open new large-scale business projects and create jobs. In addition to the fund, the bill creates the Mountaineer Impact Office, which would identify potential business projects that could benefit from the fund’s investment of non-taxpayer dollars. The Impact Fund could then invest in these projects, creating new jobs for West Virginians while also producing an investment return for fund investors. This brilliant plan, the brainchild of WV Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, is a direct result of Republican ingenuity!
Republicans in Washington have created the Opportunity Zones project, which is expected to spur $100 billion in long-term private capital investment in economically distressed communities across the country. Two zones are located in Greenbrier County, including White Sulphur Springs and Ronceverte. Republicans in West Virginia have used their time in power to facilitate the development of our natural resources like natural gas (House Bill 4421), open up state-owned towers for broadband and cellular coverage expansion (House Bill 4015), invest in renewable energy such as solar (Senate Bill 583), and enhance the successes of tourism districts, such as Greenbrier County (Senate Bill 657). On top of it all, trade school development has been at the forefront of the West Virginia Republican agenda. Republicans know that we must make sure that we have adequate professionally skilled and semi-skilled workers to meet demand, and initiatives have been put in place to ensure this occurs.
The results from all this activity have been astounding. Since the last election, WV has been among the top states for job growth and personal income growth. Wages and opportunities ARE expanding under Republican leadership. Before the pandemic hit, West Virginia had been hitting record after record in surpluses. As WV Commerce Secretary Ed Gaunch said, “Favorable cost of doing business, access to markets, and a hard-working, skilled workforce are creating momentum in West Virginia.” Republicans have clearly been far more effective at developing the state’s economy than Democrats were in their 80+ years in power. We believe that as the Coronavirus pandemic recedes, West Virginia will roar back to the job creation levels seen last year and will break more records than ever before.
Moving on from the economy, we have seen quality of life make huge strides since the last election because of Republican leadership. The foster care system and adoption process is being positively reformed by Republicans. House Bill 4092 triggered about $30.3 million in additional funding for foster care families and services, $16.9 million of which would come from the state. That covers the increase in daily payments to foster families and child placing agencies that would be paid through a new tiered system, that would increase payments for older children and those with unique needs. Additionally, it creates a pilot program to increase payments to kinship families. House Bill 4129 eliminated the waiting period for the hearing on an adoption petition and adds flexibility to the process by allowing the adoption hearing to take place in the county in which the foster child was originally removed or the county in which the adoptive parents live.
House Bill 4003 established standards for telehealth insurance coverage to make sure insurance covers these most important services. This was a key move at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. With the Born-Alive Act, Republican leadership protected the sanctity of life by requiring doctors to use reasonable medical judgment to preserve the life of a child that ends up being born alive during an attempted abortion. With the Student Religious Liberty Act, a public school district cannot discriminate against students or parents on the basis of a religious viewpoint or religious expression. House Bill 4558 honored volunteer firefighters and helped address recruiting and retention among their ranks by providing a $1,000 per year personal income tax credit for active volunteer firefighters across the state.
How many of these bills that were passed did you know about? The Republican Party’s successes have been numerous in West Virginia since the last election. However, the media, through their sheer hatred of President Trump, downplays every single Republican accomplishment nationally and locally. This is why I am providing these facts.
In conclusion, I state with confidence that the Republican Party is the party that most aligns with Greenbrier County’s interests and values. This is why, since the beginning of August, over 250 more Democrats have switched their party to Republican. The Republican Party of Greenbrier County and of West Virginia is the party of the working men and women. We have your backs and will continue to make a positive impact in your life while in office. The Republican Party will always stand for government transparency and efficiency. We unabashedly support the Right to Life, the Right to Bear Arms, and the Right to Privacy. We stand for the US and WV Constitution and will fight to preserve your liberty. We seek to make your life better and more prosperous. We seek to unite Americans. Greenbrier County has the opportunity in this election to elect two new Republican Delegates in Barry Bruce and Todd Longanacre, preserve a Republican State Senate seat by electing Jack David Woodrum, preserve a majority on the County Commission by re-electing Lowell Rose, and expand our majority in the Courthouse by electing Doug Beard as sheriff. Do not let this opportunity pass us by! Let’s VOTE RED up and down the ballot and ensure a brighter tomorrow for Greenbrier County and beyond!
Ben Anderson, Chairman
Greenbrier County Republican Party