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Media Advisory: W.Va. Governor Jim Justice’s 2022 State of the State Address transcript, video and photos available

WV Press News Sharing

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The office of Gov. Jim Justice has made his 2022 State of the State address available through an initial transcript and video.

There is also a related photo album. Please credit the Office of the Governor for the courtesy photos.

Please note that the transcript, pasted below to assist with quick search, is a rough draft and the actual video might differ.

2022 State of the State address

TRANSCRIPT-Rough Draft

 1                 (1-27-2022, th. time is 7:15 o’clock P.M.,

 2  the State of the State address by Governor Justice)

 3                 GOVERNOR JUSTICE:  Okay, come on y’all,

 4  sit down.  Enough is enough.

 5                 I know you just went through a really

 6  special time, a great man that we lost, our Speaker of

 7  the House, a great friend of lots and lots and lots of

 8  folks, and so with all that, you know, we to he served

 9  our state in an incredible way, really proud, really

10  really proud in every way.

11                 Now, let me just tell you this.  We have

12  already had a few little mishaps and I am going to just

13  sit here and talk with you tonight.  I just think about

14  this for a second.  It is an incredible, incredible time

15  to be a West Virginian and I am going to talk to you a

16  lot about a lot of things here tonight, but the one

17  thing that is absolutely for sure true from time to

18  time, not very often, almost never you may have found

19  that I have been a minute or two late here now, I know

20  you are already giggling and I love that because I

21  really believe that the Good Lord gave us all the

22  ability to smile and laugh and the journey is very

23  tough.  In all that, whether there were times I was 15

24  minutes late or 20 minutes late or sometimes even later

25  than that, I never really have been 15 days late.


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 1                 But I can tell you that I am extremely

 2  grateful that you are allowing me to come late.  I

 3  absolutely promise you with all my soul that I couldn’t

 4  believe what happened, to tell you the truth.

 5                 You know, for those of you that have been

 6  in contact with this or had loved ones that have dealt

 7  with it, and we all know that, but we also all know, we

 8  have got to live with it until really smart people

 9  figure it out and it leaves us forever.  Now, with all

10  that I would say to you so many different things, but

11  there is so much, so much to discuss here tonight and I

12  say, “Dude, here we go.”

13                 I would like to first and foremost

14  recognize my family.  I really don’t have any idea how

15  all of the people that are around me all the time, none

16  of them tested positive.  That really doesn’t make a lot

17  of exception to me, but it especially doesn’t make sense

18  to me that I dear wife, Cathy, was with me the entire

19  time and she didn’t test positive.  Now I have accused

20  Cathy of being a carrier, to tell you the truth, but —

21  but nevertheless our First Lady, Cathy Justice, please.

22                 (Applause.)

23                 I brought my daughter, Jill.  She is still

24  — she is out of the time when she can’t go out, she is

25  still in the time where she doesn’t wear a mask and I


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 1  have got my beautiful son Jay with me.  It is really the

 2  other way around.  I have got my beautiful daughter,

 3  Jill, and my okay son, Jay.  

 4                 But nevertheless I want to introduce all

 5  of my cabinet.  I want you to really just bear with me

 6  just for a second, just know this.  These people do

 7  incredible work.  They are super workers, that is all

 8  there is to it.  You see, I am a real believer, I am a

 9  real believer that absolutely if you are willing to

10  share the credit and talent and all of the

11  responsibilities and everything, you can create winners

12  all around.  I will just go through as quickly as I

13  possibly can.  

14                 The Secretary of Commerce — why don’t you

15  hold you are place until I get done.  Our Secretary of

16  Commerce, Ed Gaunch, Secretary of Administration, Mark

17  Scott, our Secretary of the DEP, Harold Ward, our

18  Secretary of DHHR, Bill Crouse, our Secretary of

19  Homeland Security, Jeff Sandy, our Secretary of Revenue,

20  Dave Hardy, our Secretary of Transportation that wears a

21  tie a little strangely, Jimmy Wriston, our Secretary of

22  Veterans Assistance, Ed Diaz, our Secretary of Tourism,

23  Chelsea Ruby, our Secretary of Economic Development,

24  Mitch Carmichael, our Secretary of Arts, Culture, and

25  History Randall Reed-Smith who can dress a little


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 1  unusual at times, too, our Adjutant General of the West

 2  Virginia National Guard, Brigadier General Bill Crane,

 3  our Chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education

 4  Policy Commission, Sarah Armstrong Tucker.

 5                 Now, now you can clap.

 6                 (Applause.)

 7                 We have got our Supreme Court with

 8  us.  Our Chief Justice is John Hutchison.  I have to

 9  tell you this before I go any further and I just looked

10  at the name and I just think of this.  We were

11  practicing at the Raleigh County Armory, at that time

12  was called the Armory, now it is Raleigh County Civic

13  Center.  We were both playing on Woodrow’s team.  I was

14  a junior.  John was a senior.  John was right in front

15  of me.  I was playing right behind him and everything

16  and they were going to get the tip and everything.  

17                 All of a sudden out of nowhere he wheels

18  around and rams his head right in my nose.  When he

19  does, blood is going everywhere as I have a broken nose

20  and the coach continues to scream “Get off the damn

21  court, Justice.”  So nevertheless, our Chief Justice

22  John Hutchison, we have Justice Evan Jenkins, Justice

23  Elizabeth Walker, Justice Tim Armstead, and Justice Tim

24  Wooton.  Would you all give them a around of applause,

25  please.


                                                                     5

 1                 (Applause)

 2                 And constitutional officers, I have had

 3  really a lot of fun working with these guys and really

 4  truly, I think of them as really dear friends.  You

 5  know, our Attorney General is not with us tonight.  

 6  Patrick is off doing a lot of really, really important

 7  stuff and we hope he will come back and bear a lot of

 8  fruit.  But our Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, our

 9  State Auditor, J.B. McCuskey, our Secretary of State,

10  Mac Warner, our Commissioner of Agriculture, Kent

11  Leonhardt, and our State Treasurer, Riley Moore.  Give

12  them a big around of applause, please.

13                 (Applause)

14                 We have so many different people here.  We

15  have our Senate President right behind me, Craig Blair,

16  our Speaker of the House, Roger Hanshaw.  You know, I

17  haven’t seen Joe, but I see Shelley here.  Shelley,

18  thank you so much for coming and everything in any

19  way.  I haven’t seen any of our congressmen or

20  congresswomen, but I thank them from the bottom of my

21  hard.  Absolutely, please, a big round of applause for

22  all of them.

23                 (Applause.)

24                 We have got college presidents here, our

25  WVU President, Gordon Gee, and our newly President of


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 1  Marshall University, Brad Smith.  I don’t know where

 2  they are, but, please, give them a round of applause.

 3                 (Applause.)

 4                 Last but not least, this gentleman right

 5  here, surely deserves a ton of credit.  From almost day

 6  one, we have wanted to get this accomplished.  We now in

 7  West Virginia have a newly appointed Intermediate Court

 8  of Appeals.  And these — and these people are Tom

 9  Scarr, Dan Greear, and Donald Nickerson.  Please give

10  them a round of applause, too.

11                 (Applause.)

12                 Okay, it’s been two years, the pandemic

13  has been tough and you know the toll it has taken on

14  every single last one of us.  I have read every name.  

15  It has been really, really bad.  That is just all there

16  is to it.  

17                 You know, we are great people and we are a

18  resilient people, West Virginians, and I know in my

19  heart we are going to get through this.  We still need

20  to all stay together and pull the rope together as much

21  as we can and I want to talk to you just a second about

22  that.  But I would like to all of us bow in a moment of

23  prayer.  We have now lost 5,697 people.

24                 We will just do this in silent prayer, but

25  please, please, remember all of those that we have lost.


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 1                 (Pause.)

 2                 Thank you so much.  I want to recognize my

 3  team through this.  The Coronavirus Czar Doctor Clay

 4  Marsh, the general that was a general for a long time

 5  with the National Guard here and has gone on to do more

 6  and more great stuff with us, that is General

 7  Hoyer.  Doctor Amjad, who came on kind of semi in the

 8  beginning, middle of this thing, but what a job she has

 9  done, and Secretary Crouch, and all of the people that

10  have worked right with them.  

11                 You know, some way, some how, you can say

12  a whole lot about this, but some way, some how we pushed

13  the right buttons over and over and over.  Could they

14  have been better?  Could they have been perfect?  Well,

15  maybe.  Maybe, but in all honesty, they sure absolutely

16  are.  I think all of the time about, you know, when we

17  had to close something or we just stayed right and said,

18  “No way, no way, no way,” and we moved and we some way,

19  some how got through eight.  Really and truly, and I

20  mean this with all my soul, nowhere close to hard enough

21  to have made all of the decisions that we made.  There’s

22  no way.  I’ll promise you that, a billion times over,

23  God above helped us, the great state in many, many ways.  

24                 If don’t believe that, then you are

25  really, really a misguided individual in my opinion


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 1  because really when it goes right down to it as elderly

 2  as we are, as close as we are to population and as

 3  absolutely so many different diseases and illnesses we

 4  have with our citizens, this could have absolutely wiped

 5  us out.  It could have been really, really bad.

 6                 Now in all of that, please give those

 7  people that worked a round of applause.  They have done

 8  great work.

 9                 (Applause.)

10                 I want to introduce one other group, this

11  is a tremendously educational deal that just happened

12  right right.  You know, I have had my basketball team

13  sitting right up there, a bunch of talented young ladies

14  that are on their way, that are smart as they could

15  possibly be.  If you all would stand, please give them a

16  round of applause.

17                 (Applause.)

18                 Now let’s get through a lot of business,

19  okay?  We are now going to create or have created an

20  Emergency Management Crisis Fund.  We did it with $10

21  million.  It wasn’t all of the money in the world, but

22  we did it out of one of the last bunches of moneys that

23  we had and when have done this for our EMS workers.  We

24  have done this to try to retain or recruit, you know,

25  good, good, good people.  These people have given so


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 1  much.  You talk about they run to the fire, they surely

 2  have.

 3                 Now, I want to just much on one other

 4  thing real quick.  I want to just tell you from my heart

 5  the real important stuff.  You may think, “Well, that

 6  didn’t mean anything.  That wasn’t anything.”  But you

 7  all watch what is going on in Washington all day.  I

 8  don’t know any of us here that could possibly say that

 9  its — this country is so much better than that, it is

10  unbelievable.  Don’t fall prey to hat.  

11                 Please be as staunch and great as you are

12  all of the time.  You know whether you believe this,

13  bang to it, don’t bang to it, I don’t know the very

14  reason that I ran for Governor.  I have never wanted

15  anything.  I just wanted — you see, a long time ago,

16  our forefathers, that is what they did.  They stepped

17  up, lost a lot, didn’t they?  They lost a lot.  Well, I

18  promise you from the standpoint of a financial trip, it

19  has surely not been the most rosy trip for Jim Justice,

20  but I can tell you just this.  I did it for the right

21  reasons.  

22                 I also would tell you something else.  I

23  didn’t want to just be your Governor.  I can remember

24  when Governor Moore was running and some of his ads, you

25  know, as he was running for re-election, said “Reelect a


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 1  good Governor.”  I don’t want to be a good Governor.  I

 2  want to be the greatest Governor you have ever had and I

 3  want to be that every, single day.  And I would

 4  challenge you to do the exact thing.  But we cannot do

 5  it, we cannot do it just disrespecting, we can’t do it

 6  throwing rocks at one another.  We can’t do it trying to

 7  one up each other all of the time.  There are so many

 8  people that depend on us, it is unbelievable.

 9                 Let me just say one last thing.  You know,

10  I don’t get to fly very often, but I fly from time to

11  time, whether it is in my plane or a state plan.  And on

12  a clear day, and I have said this over and over, I’ll be

13  up at 20,000 feet or 25,000 feet where you can see for

14  miles and miles and miles.  And you know what I think so

15  often is just this:  All those people for as far as I

16  can possibly see depend on me.  They depend on you.  It

17  is breath taking when you really just think about

18  it.  The responsibility is really enormous.  Please,

19  let’s not be Washington, DC.  We are better than that.  

20  If we don’t watch out, we will really, really, really

21  get in trouble.

22                 I promised you a rocketship ride, did I

23  not, in 2017.  I told you we were on the pad in 2020.  I

24  am go to tell you for real there can’t be a human being

25  in here that doesn’t believe that it’s real now.  It is


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 1  absolutely real.  This state is setting records, record

 2  after record after record, record surplus after surplus,

 3  record after record, record unemployment as far as the

 4  greatest levels, the lowest unemployment in

 5  history.  People are moving here from 2010 to 2019, a

 6  number that I can’t imagine, 43,000 people left the

 7  State of West Virginia and we know right now for the

 8  first time, for the first time in forever, they are

 9  moving here.  They are finding out the very thing that I

10  had said to you over and over and over and over.  We are

11  that diamond in the rough.  We are the diamond in the

12  rough that absolutely can do all great things.  I mean,

13  I believe in our people beyond belief.  I believe in the

14  facts we have got these incredible four seasons and our

15  proximity is where it is off the chart, it is all

16  natural resources, on and on and on, is it an

17  opportunity beyond belief.

18                 Tourism is exploding, I could go on and on

19  and on, we are building road after road, businesses are

20  expanding and businesses are coming.  It is amazing.  It

21  is an amazing West Virginia.  I say to you over and over

22  and over, let’s continue to propagate more and more and

23  more good.  I’ll promise you we have the chance to do

24  just exactly that.

25                 Last year I came to you and asked you to


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 1  fund, basically, another secretary, did I not?  I asked

 2  you to create the Department of Economic Development,

 3  did I not?  And I absolutely asked you to allow Mitch

 4  Carmichael to be our secretary, did I not?  And focus on

 5  job recruitment into our great state.

 6                 You just think about that.  Mitch

 7  Carmichael is somewhere in here.  I want you to stand,

 8  hold your applause for just one second.  I want you to

 9  think about this.  In 2021 more than $1.1 dollars was

10  invested in West Virginia by 39 different companies

11  through economic development efforts and activities.  

12                 In the calendar year 2021, the first year

13  of the Department of Economic Development, total

14  employment in West Virginia has increased over 36,000

15  jobs, over a 3,000 percent increase, the lowest

16  unemployment in the history of our state today.

17                 Look, when I came to you and said, “Let’s

18  fund this,” pretty daggone good investment.  But please

19  give them a big round of applause.

20                 (Applause.)

21                 You know they went fishing, did they not?  

22  You know, and they caught some big, big, big fish.  You

23  have already heard about these announcements, but I

24  wanted to bring them to you, you know, in the State of

25  the State a few3 days or so ago, but Owens & Minor is


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 1  somewhere here and we have, and I know I am going to

 2  mess up pronouncing this, but Ed Pesicka is here and, oh

 3  I can’t do this one.  This one is all, I’ll never do

 4  it.  So anyway, Ed and whom ever.

 5                 (Applause)

 6                 I want to also thank for the work in

 7  getting them here, Albert Wright at WVU.  This company

 8  is going to absolutely be able to help us along the way

 9  with supplies in the medical industry and a lot of

10  different things, 125 employees.  We thank them and

11  thank them from the bottom of my heart.  The total

12  investment will be close to 50 million dollars and that

13  is great.  Thank you.

14                 Then along came GreenPower, the Motor

15  Company, did it not?  I think Mark Nestlen is with us

16  with GreenPower tonight.  They are going to go into

17  South Charleston and start off with 200 jobs with the

18  hope at some point in time of growing to 900 jobs.  From

19  the standpoint of Owens & Minor, you realize they are a

20  Fortune 500 Company coming to West

21  Virginia.  Amazing.  So wherever Mark is, Mark, please

22  stand.

23                 (Applause.)

24                 And just think about this.  You know, you

25  have gone fishing.  You caught — you caught two world


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 1  class tunas, maybe Blue Marlin, and absolutely we are so

 2  proud to have you here and we know that you will love

 3  this state beyond all good things.  

 4                 But along the way in that, we kept

 5  fishing, did we not?  And we talked and we talked and

 6  talked to these people and I did everything but tell

 7  them that I would dance at their next 6,000 weddings and

 8  along came Moby Dick.  And boom.  We got it.  We

 9  absolutely have so many things to be thankful for.  

10                 But we have Nucor West Virginia right now,

11  and if you could give them a monstrous round of

12  applause, David Topalian, David Semonsky, John Farris

13  and Dean Pickett [spelling]

14                 (Applause.)

15                 Now believe it or not, the biggest

16  investment hands down that has ever come to West

17  Virginia, but the biggest investment that Nucor has ever

18  made, can you imagine, Fortune 150 Company, it is

19  unbelievable it is coming to West Virginia and the

20  spinoff of this is going to be job after job after

21  job.  It has absolutely been working for it forever.

22                 Also a really important fellow I want to

23  thank there is Chris Beam. [spelling] Chris with AEP

24  really stepped up.  AEP really stepped up.  We should be

25  very, very thankful for them.  Chris I saw you just a


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 1  second ago.  Thank you so much.  

 2                 (Applause.)

 3                 Okay.  More of the business.  Years ago,

 4  now I have seen this, I have seen this so many times.  I

 5  have seen this, you know, where really smart business

 6  people tried to do just this.  We had so many industrial

 7  sites that were just mothballed all over kingdom

 8  come.  We believed we will build a site and they will

 9  come.  Build a field and they will come and they

10  didn’t.  We had to be nimble and we had to move and we

11  had to change our techniques of the way we would attract

12  them and everything.  And today, today, today I am

13  directing our Secretary of Commerce and Economic

14  Development as well to find those four sites.  So you

15  guys have got to get to work, that is all there is to

16  it.  We need more sites.

17                 I absolutely believe that if we are truly

18  the diamond in the rough, we have got to stop right now,

19  West Virginia, of having one person hungry.  We don’t

20  need name people in our state hungry.  We need to do in

21  our food banks to find absolutely everything we can

22  possibly do to make sure we don’t have West Virginians

23  go hungry.

24                 (Applause.)

25                 Now I am hear to tell you that a group of


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 1  people that we should be so thankful for, it is off the

 2  chart.  That is our National Guard.  They have done so

 3  much so many different times.  I can remember in the

 4  flood of 2016 wading in mud with lots and lots and lots

 5  of them, and really beginning my knowledge of just how

 6  really good they are.  I have seen them all.  I have

 7  seen them through a lot of storms and lots of bad stuff,

 8  right through to their soul, just how good and how

 9  blessed we truly are.  And I see today they are back at

10  the hospitals and doing everything they can to help us

11  again today.

12                 Not only that, and this is the neatest —

13  this is, first of all, you have got to know this.  I

14  love the state.  I don’t go on vacation and Cathy can

15  probably kick me for that.  I don’t go on vacations.  I

16  love West Virginia.  I love to hunt, fish, spend time

17  with kids and be right here in this great state and that

18  is what I do.  That is why this story is so meaningful

19  to me.

20                 The Mountaineer Challenge, then along came

21  the Mountaineer Challenge Academy South, did it not?  

22  Kids were having a tough time, kids that were really

23  going the wrong way, going the wrong way.  And lo and

24  behold, we have a graduate now, Mountaineer Challenge

25  Academy South.  His name is William Barton [].  He is 17


                                                                     17

 1  years old.  He just got appointed to West Point.  His

 2  parents are right here with us tonight, Dave and

 3  Rhonda.  If you would stand, I don’t know where you

 4  are.  Oh, right here.

 5                 (Applause)

 6                 Now not one can spend a whole lot of time

 7  is critical, but I truly believe in telling the

 8  truth.  When somebody is going the wrong way, I don’t

 9  believe that you should just pamper them.  I believe you

10  have got to tell them, “You are going the wrong

11  way.”  That is all there is to it.  I really believe we

12  don’t get out of the holes where we don’t know where we

13  are in the hole.  I believe the Biden Administration is

14  absolutely driving me at least crazy.  That is all there

15  is to it.  I think the situation today with inflation

16  and especially what is going on at our borders, what

17  happens internationally with Afghanistan and whatever it

18  may be, if that the trouble, I think absolutely again he

19  is not really thinking right.  

20                 But in all of that, this border situation

21  has caused a big problem.  Fentanyl, over and over and

22  over, it is killing people in West Virginia right

23  now.  But tonight, I am directing our Department of

24  Homeland Security and also the Center to do everything

25  in their power, I don’t know exactly what all they can


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 1  do, but to do everything in their power to communicate

 2  across borders with every state, all of the way to the

 3  Texas border, all of the way to whatever border it may

 4  be to do any and everything that they can possibly do to

 5  help stop the terrible securing because it is killing

 6  people.  That is all there is to it.

 7                 I would also — I would also welcome

 8  anything that you folks can come up that says for a drug

 9  dealer that comes into this state and peddles stuff that

10  is going to kill our people, absolutely you can’t come

11  up with anything that is absolutely — you can’t come up

12  with anything that is too strenuous for me.  There is no

13  way.  You just can’t do it.  That is all there is to it.

14                 Our Jobs & Hope program is doing all kinds

15  of neat stuff, we have touched 1400 individuals that

16  have now gone out and gotten jobs in West Virginia and

17  there are 1600 more people that are in the program.  It

18  is really good stuff.  

19                 We want to recognize a young lady here

20  with us that has battled an addiction and a problem for

21  25 years.  Her name is Katie Everly.  Imagine that, she

22  out of nowhere got into our Jobs and Hope program and lo

23  and behold of all things today, do you know what she is?  

24  She is a heavy equipment operator.  And you know where

25  she is working?  She is working for our West Virginia


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 1  DOT.  She is going to get a promotion right soon and she

 2  is with us to nature and she is on our her way, she is

 3  with her children, she is absolutely on her way with a

 4  new life, a life away from terrible addiction.  Where is

 5  Katie?

 6                 (Applause.)

 7                 Great job.

 8                 Okay, we want more people back to work in

 9  West Virginia.  We had a few extra dollars from the

10  remaining CARES Monday, the original CARES money.  We

11  started a thing called Jobs Jump Back

12  Program.  Basically, it is just an incentive to be able

13  to get people to go back to work even though our

14  unemployment level is super low, get more people back to

15  work because our businesses need them.  And they need

16  them really bad.

17                 We are going to give those people $1500 if

18  they can stay on the job eight weeks.  It doesn’t sound

19  like much.  It doesn’t sound like much at all, but

20  really we have got to some way get them back because

21  they are sitting on a porch somewhere right now a lot of

22  them that are absolutely willing and able, and we need

23  them back.  The federal government is doing their thing,

24  but I think what we should do is try any and everything

25  we can possibly do to get them back.  


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 1                 We are also hiring a resiliency officer

 2  that is going to work in our office that is going to

 3  work all of the programs, help them every way you could

 4  possibly help with all of the different areas of the

 5  programs to help them.  This program really is working,

 6  you know.  I’m not promising you that it will work here,

 7  but I surely think it is worth a shot.

 8                 Here is really neat news.  Our old — and

 9  all of you all probably know what exactly what old fund

10  means.  Our Workers’ Comp. is over.  At one time we had

11  a 3.5 billion dollar deficit.  For all practical

12  purposes, nobody would like to come to West Virginia and

13  do business.  Today and tonight I can announce now it

14  has — the deficit is completely eliminated and we have

15  a positive balance of 57 million dollars and it is over.

16                 (Applause.)

17                 I am delivering to you tonight for the

18  fourth year in a row for all practical purposes in every

19  way a flat budget.  We have absolutely — we don’t have

20  any reason to dip into the Rainy Day Fund.  We

21  absolutely do not have any reason to grow

22  government.  We absolutely need to watch the store every

23  single day.  

24                 You will absolutely see a flat budget,

25  with some minor, minor increases for pay raises or


                                                                     21

 1  whatever it may be, but we can cover that with our

 2  surplus.

 3                 I encourage all of you, we absolutely look

 4  as we possibly can with the CARES money.  Now we have

 5  the ARP money.  We need to work through all of the good

 6  ideas.  We need to be super respectful of one another

 7  and we need to absolutely manage those dollars in the

 8  very best place possible.  It is another real

 9  opportunity for West Virginia.

10                 We have government reform going on and I

11  am a real believer in streamlining government and

12  cutting ways to do all of the different things we can

13  do.  You know, I am proposing bills to further

14  streamline our Department of Art, Culture, and History,

15  DHHR, the DOT and the Division of Corrections and I want

16  to show you just something.  And I don’t know where it

17  is and everything, but where is it, Jordan?  Are you all

18  going to bring it out here.  Here we go.  

19                 I want you all to look right here.  You

20  will not — there is no way that you could possibly

21  believe this.  This is the flow chart in the state —

22  you all can stand right in front of me, that would be

23  good.  Come stand right here.  It goes all of the way

24  over here.  This is a flow chart that shows the process

25  of getting a contract through our state purchasing


                                                                     22

 1  department.

 2                 Now I want you to look at this.  And I

 3  want you to imagine, that was created so we would — we

 4  would not wait.  Honest to God.  That’s the

 5  truth.  That’s why it was created, so we would not wait.  

 6  It is the beatingest thing I have ever seen.  Toyota has

 7  been an incredible partner to West Virginia, have they

 8  not.  And Toyota Production Support System, they are

 9  surely one of our business partners in the production —

10  the Toyota Production Support System is a world leader

11  in efficiency has agreed to help us streamline this and

12  try to come up with some way that it isn’t this.

13                 (Applause.)

14                 You all can just stand there.  You all

15  need to leave.

16                 We need a new lab in West Virginia.  We

17  absolutely need a new lab and need it really bad.  We

18  need a new lab and we can put it all under one of and we

19  can have a public health, a law enforcement, and an ag.

20  lab under one roof that is state-of-the-art and

21  state-of-the-art beyond belief.  We can use ARP money to

22  fund this, but we desperately need a new lab for our

23  medical examiners, our State Police, and our ag.

24  department.  Please let’s absolutely move forward and

25  get this done.  


                                                                     23

 1                 (Applause.)

 2                 Man, you all clap a lot.  Okay.  Okay, our

 3  State Police, now just think about this.  We need to

 4  commit dollars to locality pay.  That is all there is to

 5  it.  Our State Police continues to have dwindling

 6  numbers.  We have had three cadet classes since I walked

 7  in the door and who knows before that we didn’t have

 8  any.  Now we are on the brink of having our fourth cadet

 9  class and we are still underwater, maybe to the tune of

10  700 to 800 State Policemen.  We absolutely need to move

11  forward with our cadet class.  We need to move forward

12  with locality pay and we need to absolutely support, the

13  very, very people that support us.  How again, and I

14  don’t mean to step on anybody’s those, how again could

15  anybody have come up with the idea in life we are going

16  to defund the police?  Where on God’s earth did that

17  come from?

18                 (Applause.)

19                 Think about what tourism is doing in the

20  State of West Virginia today.  You know, we have a

21  Secretary of Tourism, Secretary Ruby, who has done an

22  incredible job.  Chelsea is stuck on all of the time and

23  absolutely lives, eats, and breathes ways to bring more

24  and more folks to West Virginia.  I have been an

25  absolutely believer and supporter through and


                                                                     24

 1  through.  Without any question whatsoever, the very

 2  first day that I walked in this door, I have been a

 3  believer in diversification and a believer in tourism

 4  and, being an absolutely tremendous leader in West

 5  Virginia.  I said over and over, and you might think,

 6  “Oh, gosh, why does he say these things?”  

 7                 I said, you know, any frog who is not much

 8  proud of his pond is not much of a frog.  And forever,

 9  forever, we must have not been real proud of our pond,

10  not proud enough to put some dollars into it.  You look

11  at the investment we have made in tourism and what

12  happened in this state.  It is absolutely unbelievable,

13  what I am telling you, Jim Justice, he is telling you

14  just right, you are still just getting it partially

15  outside the plate.  The meat and potatoes are still

16  there.  Absolutely if there is ever a place on this

17  planet people would want to come to if they really

18  understood what we are all about, what we have, is

19  tourism in West Virginia.

20                 So —

21                 (Applause.)

22                 Think about the other ATV park, good

23  gracious, all of the different things for travel, all of

24  the different things that are happening.  Think about

25  all of those publications all over the place.  They are


                                                                     25

 1  now ranking West Virginia at the top — in the top 25,

 2  whatever it may be.  You know, tourism magazines to be

 3  perfectly honest, most of it had never heard of us

 4  before.  You couldn’t imagine that they would pick West

 5  Virginia.  But they are all picking West Virginia.  It

 6  is unbelievable.  Chelsea, please, stand, incredible

 7  job, incredible job.

 8                 (Applause.)

 9                 I talked about that frog being proud of

10  his own pond and I am going to tell you this and I

11  promise you to God above this is a fact.  You know, a

12  lot of people will sit here with teleprompters and read

13  to you and I — you know, I think I speak the most

14  common language and I talk about frogs and I talk about

15  Baby Dog and everything else under the sun, really and

16  truly you know that I am talking to you just like we

17  were sitting in your house talking to you.  Not talking

18  down to anybody, I don’t believe in it.  

19                 Absolutely believe that of all of the

20  frogs, I am proud.  Now, there may be somebody that

21  isn’t proud, but I love you and I love the state

22  more.  So many different people throughout all of the

23  different land and everything have thrown rocks at our

24  natural resource industries, our coal miners and gas

25  workers, really makes me mad.  The reason it makes me


                                                                     26

 1  mad is all that these people have given, good gracious

 2  sakes a living, they have given so much.  And we owe

 3  them so much.  The same way with our great factory

 4  workers, our craftsmen wherever they may be, our

 5  teachers, all of the people that are doing the work in

 6  this state, people have thrown rocks.

 7                 I frankly don’t like this either.  And you

 8  know, I am going to probably get in trouble about this,

 9  but I will just get in trouble.  I have been in trouble

10  a lot.  But, you know, I don’t like the fact whether it

11  be our financial institutions or whomever it may be that

12  they come out publicly and say, “Oh, no, we don’t

13  believe in making loans or whatever to the energy

14  industries.  We are not doing that.”  Well I think it is

15  their prerogative in private business people without any

16  question, for God’s sake I don’t know how you exist in

17  the State of West Virginia and turn your back on the

18  very industries that made this state and still continue

19  to do so.  So I think all of those, whether it be our

20  healthcare people, our first responders, I truly love

21  you.  I am the proudest frog.  So I’ll just go with

22  that.

23                 The Beckley Veterans Nursing Home, we have

24  talked about it for the last 100 years and truly we were

25  right on the verge of being able to pull this off, but


                                                                     27

 1  when we got the quotes all in, the quotes came in a

 2  little higher to pull it off than what we wanted to have

 3  happen.  So we got — we have got to make a

 4  decision.  We can phase it down.  We can phase down from

 5  120 beds, 90, 80, and maybe we can get by.  And I am

 6  going to tell you this as point blank as I can fell you,

 7  these people have given us every single thing we have

 8  had in life.  Absolutely we have got to find some

 9  money.  I expect you to do that with us and absolutely

10  go arm and arm.  We have got to get this done right

11  here.  That is all there is to it.

12                 (Applause.)

13                 Okay.  I am going to keep moving here.  We

14  are starting a new thing that is really spawned from

15  Ascend and it is, you know, that Brad Smith and Alys

16  [spelling] have come up and helped us with that

17  program.  Can you imagine that program, Brad, you know

18  this, we had 10,000 applicants I think and 2.5 million

19  visits to our web site, unbelievable, through the

20  combination of you guys, through the combination of WVU,

21  through the combination of our tourism folks and

22  everything else, 2.5 million people visited us and said,

23  “We have an interest in West Virginia.”  We have got to

24  build houses, people.  That is all there is to it.

25                 So I am going to try some way to create


                                                                     28

 1  something called build West Virginia, some level of tax

 2  credit, a tax credit for builders to incentivse them to

 3  go out and build homes.  Again, I thank Ascend for all

 4  that they have done and we have a young lady with us

 5  tonight that is one of those that has come to West

 6  Virginia.  Of all places she came from an 800 foot —

 7  800 square-foot apartment in Chicago, Illinois, her name

 8  is Quintina Mengyn and I think I am pronouncing this

 9  correctly.  Her boyfriend, her dog, and herself, all of

10  them have moved now to West Virginia.  They supposedly

11  love it.  Baby Dog has talked to the dog and the dog

12  loves it, too.  So where is she.

13                 (Applause.)

14                 The DNR police are with us tonight, Bobby

15  Cales, our colonel is here, 125-year celebration for how

16  many years they have been with us and protecting our

17  natural resources in this state and now they have got a

18  new motto, is it called “Protecting the Wild and

19  Wonderful.”  Where are you, Bobby?  Where are you?  

20  Please, you all stand.

21                 (Applause.)

22                 We are similar any losing an incredible

23  friend, incredible guy who has done an amazing job with

24  our DNR, Steve McDaniel.  Steve has done absolutely

25  wonders and Steve and I have been going off on one


                                                                     29

 1  another like you can imagine.  I love the outdoors and

 2  you know really and truly I am broke up a little bit now

 3  and to be perfectly honest, he is, too.  And with all of

 4  that, but I have honestly almost walked up and down

 5  every mountain in this state.  I have chased a bird dog

 6  all over kingdom come and I have chased every wild

 7  turkey you can possibly chase in this state.  I have

 8  crawled on my belly countless hours, days, weeks with a

 9  little five foot fly rod with a fly I would shoot on the

10  water and a three and a halfway little native brook

11  trout stream, to catch a little native brook that big

12  about that I thought would look like a tarpon.  I love

13  it.  Steve McDaniel, the job that he has done is

14  unbelilevable.  We have added 85,896 new acres in West

15  Virginia.  The hunting and fishing licenses are off the

16  chart.  we have absolutely stocked our fish the right

17  way and made an ungodly improvement in that and brought

18  more and more and folks to West Virginia.  We have spent

19  $151 million on our parks.  The absolute occupancy in

20  our parks is off the chart.  

21                 We are 52 percent higher income on — in

22  our DNR today than we were the day I walked in the

23  door.  Steve McDaniel is here with us somewhere and he

24  deserves the lion, all of the credit wherever he is,

25  Steve.  God bless you, man.  Thanks for all you have


                                                                     30

 1  done.

 2                 (Applause.)

 3                 Let me tell you just this.  There is no

 4  question we can make education better and better all the

 5  time.  There is no question we put a stake in the sand

 6  right off the get-go and said, “Make education our

 7  priority,” did we not?  Things started to change.  We

 8  have done many, many things and we are on a journey to

 9  make it better and better and better and

10  better.  Tonight, I want to propose really three

11  different things.  I want to propose that we make the

12  penalties for somebody that is a school employee that

13  abuses a student so tough that they will know that I am

14  sitting on their chest.  And that is pretty bad, isn’t

15  it?

16                 (Applause.)

17                 Unless you all are wanting to be here all

18  night long, you are going to have to slow own on the

19  clapping.  I want to prepare tonight to the legislature

20  that we fully, fully cover the cost of college classes

21  for our high school students.  I think we could do that

22  and then when they leave high school, you know, go to a

23  community college or technical school, they are

24  absolutely covered.  You know, but with that we need to

25  encourage more and more and more of our students to


                                                                     31

 1  continue on with their education.

 2                 I also — let me see.  I also want to

 3  propose a bill to make computer programming and coding

 4  classes mandatory in middle and high school.  All that

 5  you will see really soon and this just helps us in every

 6  way for the next generations to come.

 7                 We have a young lady with us tonight —

 8  I’m sorry, a young man with us tonight.  He is the

 9  Teacher of the Year.  His name a Brian Casto.  Brian is

10  an eighth grade teacher and teaches West Virginia

11  studies at the Milton Middle School in Cabell

12  County.  You know, absolutely it is amazing what great

13  work that our teachers do every day.  But also we have

14  our Service Personnel Person of the Year, and that is

15  Kathy Miller.  Kathy is a cafeteria manager at Wayne

16  High School in Wayne County, absolutely good.  You

17  government can you give these people an incredible round

18  of applause.

19                 

20                 Just stay up there just one second.  Let’s

21  follow it up with a special thanks to Highmark, the

22  Horace Mann Insurance Company, the West Virginia

23  Lottery, Toyota, and all of the others that made all of

24  this good stuff happen, as well.

25                 (Applause.)


                                                                     32

 1                 I am going to ask you now to show your

 2  real appreciation so I won’t get into all kinds of

 3  trouble later tonight, but Cathy has really done an

 4  amazing job with students.  You know me, you know I’ll

 5  horse around with you and smile and love to laugh, but

 6  I’ll tell you the truth always, and I mean this from my

 7  dying soul, if God above, and that is serious business

 8  with me, if God above right there, I am telling you the

 9  gospel truth, I have never seen a program, never ever

10  seen a program in my life that worked.  It’s

11  unbelievable.  And Cathy and I truly in all fairness

12  didn’t know much about this at all and we just started

13  down this path.  We started with next to nothing and

14  then it has just grown.  

15                 It is the Communities In Schools is the

16  number one drop out prevention initiative in the nation

17  right now.  They have been around for 40 years and truly

18  it works.  The program is in 31 counties in West

19  Virginia.  Get this, you don’t believe this, 171 schools

20  impacting 70,000 kids.  There is story after story after

21  story.  It is just truly amazing.  But Cathy has got

22  some good help.  They are adding Marshall County now and

23  we are on a quest absolutely together, but Cathy with

24  all of our great people, whether it be Vicki and Katie,

25  all of the different people, you know, Michelle, all of


                                                                     33

 1  the different people that work with it.  They are on a

 2  quest absolutely to be sure that the Communities In

 3  Schools in every, single one of our schools before we

 4  leave.  Then it will be up to you.  But if you don’t —

 5  if you are me, you absolutely would make that happen,

 6  with God above, and you are in as much schools and I am

 7  in and you are as with as many kids as I am with, never

 8  seen anything worth it.  It is absolutely, absolutely

 9  remarkable.

10                 So with all of that, I would say to you

11  just this, I have got one more thing.  We have — we

12  have an individual that was here, whose name is Connor

13  Cook.  He is a senior at Woodrow Wilson High

14  School.  Without any question, these kids really are —

15  have lost their way.  Kids have so much going, we all

16  know it, but all of the different stuff, bullying, the

17  parents and drugs and everything that can be out there

18  that a kids have to face, to deal with, all of the

19  social media stuff, all of the stuff, my God and living

20  when I was growing up all we had to deal with who was

21  going to win kicking the can in the alley that

22  night.  All we had to deal what was getting up, putting

23  on our school clothes, coming home and putting on our

24  play clothes and playing some kind of ball

25  somewhere.  Kids have so much today to deal with.


                                                                     34

 1                 There was a young man, like I said, whose

 2  name was Connor Cook, Woodrow Wilson High

 3  School.  Connor was going way, way, way the wrong way.  

 4  There is a site here, her name Erin Boyd, [check] is a

 5  long-time educator, has now worked with Communities In

 6  Schools.  And she recognized that this kid was a bright

 7  kid but on the wrong path.  A kid had given up in

 8  school.  Imagine this.  Imagine this.  Connor today is a

 9  straight A student and what he is doing is

10  unbelievable.  He was going to be here tonight and he

11  became ill.  We don’t who if he got Covid or not, but he

12  was coming.  But please give Cathy and all these great

13  people a tremendous round of applause.  They have done

14  incredible work.

15                 (Applause.)

16                 Okay.  To wrap up the education end, you

17  know, last but not least, I am proposing a 5 percent pay

18  raise to all service personnel, I mean all, all of our

19  state employees, teachers, our service personnel, all of

20  the people in the State of West Virginia that work for

21  the State of West Virginia, rather, and absolutely I am

22  also proposing my inflato scene, which is just a backup

23  for really trying to back stop this terrible inflation

24  that is going on, help them out a little bit there

25  because we can do exactly that.  I hope that you will


                                                                     35

 1  take that and really, seriously consider both.  We have

 2  got a lot, a lot of folks in our state government that

 3  are doing really good stuff.

 4                 (Applause.)

 5                 And, no, I am not — I was going to say

 6  I’m almost done.  But I have got to just say two or

 7  three more things, say two or three more things to you

 8  very quickly.  What we have done with our roads in the

 9  State of West Virginia is totally off the chart.  Just

10  think about this.  We have got Jimmy Riston with us, I

11  like to say he wears his tie a little unusual, but

12  Jimmy, Jimmy Bird’s []wife, a lot of people have really

13  put in a lot of licks.  Again, and I mean it, I give the

14  credit to the Lord.  How in the world could I have

15  possibly come up with the idea of Roads to Prosperity?  

16  Where did it come from?  Where in the world did it come

17  from?  

18                 A lot of people thought, “There is no way,

19  there is no way, it will cost us more money.  We will

20  have to tax more.  We will have to do this and that.”  

21  You know what we did?  We created ten of thousands of

22  jobs.  We absolutely put ourselves on the pathway and lo

23  and behald it worked.  Think about this, the ditches,

24  slips, all of the guardrail and everything else.  In

25  2019 they did 30,000 miles in West Virginia.  In 2020,


                                                                     36

 1  they did 39,000.  In ’21, they did 47,000 miles.  My God

 2  to live, we are going to run out of miles.

 3                 1,000 road projects, West

 4  Virginia.  Before I leave, I absolutely want to see the

 5  completion of the Nitro-St. Albans bridge.  I absolutely

 6  want to see us complete Corridor H or surely get it way

 7  down the trail.  I absolutely want to see us try to make

 8  every inroad we could possibly make in the Coal Field

 9  Express in the southern part of our state, and I

10  absolutely to God sake, surely to God above we can get

11  the roads paved in Wheeling.  I mean, surely we can get

12  that done.

13                 (Applause.)

14                 Okay, I am coming to a close here.  You

15  will probably be really proud, maybe you won’t of me,

16  hanging around here to the close, but, you know, we

17  together put a real stake in the sand not long ago.  We

18  said and we need to hold up for our — we said we

19  weren’t going to stop until we had broadband in every

20  single house in this state.  Did we not?  For crying out

21  loud, we are on our way.  We have started with a

22  billion-dollar program.  We started down the

23  pathway.  We have got lots and lots and lots of more

24  work to do, but we can do it, and for God sake’s above

25  let’s make it all happen now.  Now is the time to make


                                                                     37

 1  that happen.  We have got our people that need that.  It

 2  They drive business here.  It will drive so many things

 3  here.  We need to crawl out of the dark ages a little

 4  bit and connect every, single person we have got in this

 5  state.  Thank you so much about that.

 6                 (Applause.)

 7                 Now remember what I told you about the

 8  Good Lord gave you the ability to smile and to

 9  laugh.  Did I not tell you that early on?  I would like

10  you to do this.  I would like you to take a moment, not

11  necessarily in prayer, but I would like you to take a

12  moment because we have had an individual retire and we

13  are going to miss him so much, Phil Kabler.

14                 Now, so let’s just take a moment, okay,

15  that is long enough.  We can move on from there, but,

16  nevertheless, on a more serious note, you know, I do

17  wish Phil the best in his retirement.  And we are going

18  to miss him more than you can ever imagine and by me

19  saying this now, none of you have anything to worry

20  about.  He will write about me every day now.

21                 The last thing I have got, will tell you

22  just this, I know a bunch of you have asked about

23  it.  This has been the year of Babydog, hasn’t it?  So

24  she has got to come out here.  Come on out here,

25  baby.  Come on Babydog.  Look at her.  Stand up where


                                                                     38

 1  you can see.

 2                 I want to just end by just saying this:  

 3  We are getting to a point, are we not, you all can see

 4  her before we leave.  I have brought you a flat budget

 5  again, record low unemployment, broadband becoming a

 6  reality, tourism exploding, proud to never, ever forget

 7  our coal miners and our gas workers and all of the fact

 8  that we all should be so proud of who we are, record pay

 9  raises, Communities In Schools doing phenomenal work,

10  streamlining and eliminating waste, combating drugs,

11  feeding the hungry, very, very just the essential

12  ingredients who we ought to be, building road after road

13  and surplus after surplus and made education our

14  priority and did so and the world began to know that we

15  are that diamond in the rough that everybody knew.

16                 Now, Drew, if you can hand me Babydog.  I

17  want to tell you all just this.  And I mean this.  I

18  told you a second ago, easy, Baby, you are hung up in my

19  jacket.  I wanted to tell you just this.  I told you a

20  few minutes ago, I am your proudest frog.  Absolutely

21  people doubted us.  They never believed in West

22  Virginia.  They never believed in West Virginia, that we

23  could do it.  They never believed that the Nucors or the

24  GreenPower or Owens & Minor, they never believed.  They

25  never believed they would be here.  They told every bad


                                                                     39

 1  joke in the world about us.  And so from that

 2  standpoint, Babydog tells Bette Midler and all of those

 3  out there, kiss her hiney.

 4                 (Applause.)

 5                 God bless you all.  God bless you.  I told

 6  you I’d make you smile.  Thank you also much, in every

 7  way.  Keep doing it, West Virginia.  You can absolutely

 8  do greatness more and more and more to come.  Thank you

 9  so much.  You are an incredible group of people.  Don’t

10  become DC.  Keep it going.  Way to go West Virginia,

11  proud of you.

12                 (Applause.)

13                 (The state of the state address was

14  concluded at 8:28 P.M., 1-27-2022)
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