Last updated: January 21. 2014 10:05AM - 760 Views
W.Va. House of Delegates Representative Josh Barker (D-22nd District)

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The 2014 Legislative Session has begun here in Charleston, and as you know, things have gotten off to a bit of a chaotic start with the recent chemical spill. In spite of the water crisis, I am proud to see West Virgnians coming together to support one another and provide for those without water. I have been working to help ensure those affected have access to enough bottled water to get through this tough time. I would like to personally thank the Lincoln County Commission President, K.K. Matthews and Lincoln County Public Service Commision Chairman, Ron Gregory, for their tireless efforts to ensuring the well –being of resident affected by the chemical spill. Additionally, I’d like to acknowledge Senator Ron Stollings for his concern and leadership during recent events.

While the water crisis may have slowed things down a bit at the Legislature, it has not stopped us. We have continued to meet and are working on introducing legislation that will positively impact the lives of West Virginians. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin delivered his State of the State address last week and set the tone for this legislative session. We must continue to focus on improving the public education system in the state. I was pleased to hear the Governor announce that teachers will receive a 2-percent salary increase this year. While this is only a modest increase, it’s a step in the right direction. If we want the best and brightest teachers leading our classrooms, we must provide them with competitive salaries.

The Governor also announced plans for a potential cracker plant to be brought to the state which would bring around 10,000 jobs with it. We must attract business like this one to the state to provide good-paying jobs and boost the economy. We also need to continue our efforts from last session to address the prison overcrowding problem along with substance abuse. While we face major issues in the state, the future is looking bright.

I am serving on two committees this year: the Committee on Government Organization and the Committee on Health and Human Resources. I am confident the House of Delegates will make substantial progress this year and I will work diligently to serve the people of Putnam, Lincoln, Boone, and Logan counties.

If you have any questions or concerns for me, please don’t hesitate to contact me. My Capitol phone number is 304-340-3152 and my e-mail address is joshua.barker@wvhouse.gov.

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