Jim Justice takes over as governor of the Mountain State with heavy expectations on his shoulders.
But his folksy style and urgency for change has southern West Virginians 59News spoke with believing in a better tomorrow.
Jacquetta Way, Crab Orchard native, said she has family members whose lives took a turn for the worst when they lost their jobs in the mines. Way is now hoping Justice can be a leader who helps the coal industry thrive again.
She is not the only one.
“He’s a coal person, and I think our newly elected president will work with him, and hopefully they’ll bring the jobs back,” Way said.
“Get the coal miners back to work in West Virginia again, that would be great for the economy and boost other businesses,” Mark Hurt, local business owner, added.
Quality of education is another pressing issue for Justice.
John Quesenberry of Woodrow Wilson High School told 59News he feels the governor has made improving schools an immediate priority. As a history and government teacher, Quesenberry knows how important the first State of the State Address on Feb. 8, 2017 is.
“Well it sets the tone for the entire four years I believe,” Quesenberry said. “And right now, West Virginians need to be energized and have a sense of vision and a hope for the future.”
There is a long road ahead for Justice.
But leaders at the local level like Rob Rappold, Beckley mayor, said he has what it takes to make significant improvements to the southern part of the state.
“I won’t be surprised if he comes forth with something that is fairly revolutionary,” Rappold said.
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