The Greenbrier County Republican Club held its first meeting of the Executive Committee on the evening of Thursday, April 15. This marks the first meeting of the club’s executive committee this calendar year. The meeting was organized by Greenbrier County Republican Committee Chairman Ben Anderson, and was open to the public. Attendees included West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Kent Leonhardt, State Republican Committee Chairman Mark Harris and Senator Jack David Woodrum. Also in attendance were Delegates Barry Bruce, Heather Tully and Todd Longanacre.
The meeting, which was held at Ronceverte Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall, provided an opportunity for local residents to interact with, and ask questions of their elected officials after the conclusion of the 2021 legislative session. Anderson confirmed that a total of 95-people attended the meeting, including Rainelle mayoral-candidate John Wyatt, as well as Ronceverte mayoral-candidates Barbara Morgan and Eric Mercer.
Harris and Leonhardt each offered brief remarks before turning the floor over to Woodrum and the three delegates.
Woodrum used a portion of his time to address the current tax proposal (in reference to Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to repeal the state income tax), saying, “Just so you know, there isn’t a current tax proposal out there just yet.”
Woodrum further stated, “In November of 2022, it will be on the ballot if we come up with a plan and we want to move forward. So you’ll know everything there is to know about it, and I wouldn’t want anybody to have any anxiety about it with how much taxes you’re going to pay and all that.”
Bruce was next to speak.
“First of all, I want to thank you all,” Bruce began. “Thank you for putting us here. Without your effort, we would not have the opportunity to serve you. And I want to tell you; this group right here, I’ve seen their work ethic. And you couldn’t have a better team down there.”
“We got a lot accomplished,” Bruce continued. I’m not kidding you, there were 2,000 bills presented. You heard some of them, and we talked about them. But one of the ones I’m particularly proud of is the ‘charter school’ amendment. We got that done. And, of course, only females play female sports, we got that done.”
Bruce then highlighted the “Second-chance at Life” bill as being a “battle.”
The “Second-chance at Life” bill (HB 2982) seeks to influence the manner in which medical professionals discuss the “abortion pill” with their patients.
“I’m proud to say, hopefully, when the governor signs it, that means we won,” Bruce said, before expressing his hope that the legislature will do more to battle the state’s drug-epidemic in the coming session.
Longanacre then echoed several of the points made by Bruce, including thanking those in attendance for their support through the election process.
“It was epic,” Longanacre said. “I’m not going to lie to you. One Legislature did in just one session what it normally would have taken seven-sessions to accomplish. And that’s not just adding a bunch of bureaucratic new law. We repealed a bunch of stuff. We streamlined a bunch of stuff. We made it easier for people to get into business and succeed. We did a lot of good things.  There’s still a lot of work to be done folks!”
Longanacre went on to say, “As a freshman delegate, I can tell you that I sponsored or co-sponsored 41-bills. Five of them became law. Five! I’m not tooting my own horn, I’m just telling you that we worked together on our end of the building. We got together and agreed on things, and pushed it out of committee. Heather (Tully) and I were on two committees together.”
Tully and Longanacre both served on the House Health and Education Committees.
“Believe in us,” Longanacre said in conclusion. “We’re fighting for you. We’re going to go back down there and do the best we can for you. We have your best interests in mind. We’re not going to agree on everything. There’s a couple votes that went out that were very tough for me to take, and probably the same for some of these other folks in here. But I tried to say, ‘okay, what do they need back home? How will my vote impact those back home?’ And if that didn’t work, I just watched what Delegate (Danielle) Walker from Mon County did, and if she voted red, then I voted green.”
The next meeting of the Greenbrier County Republican Club and Executive Committee will be on Monday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m. It will once again be held at Ronceverte Baptist Church’s Fellowship Hall. Next month’s scheduled attendees include West Virginia Secretary of State, Mac Warner.