State Of The State Reaction

By: Laurabree Austin Email
By: Laurabree Austin Email

West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin set out his agenda for the 2007 Legislative session Wednesday night.

His State of the State address touched on the tragedies the state endured in mining in 2006 and promised to take mine safety further in this new year.

Some might say no major issues came to the surface, but Wednesday night teachers decided they were going to take issue with the West Virginia Legislature.

Legislators arrived to see a thousand teachers and school service personnel chanting to the point where you could hear them through the entire Capitol Complex.

Teachers tried to make sure their issue rose to the top.

Judy Hale of the American Federation of Teachers said, "We have said, look we have 60 days to work on this problem so we'll see what happens come March."

Dale Lee, Vice President of the West Virginia Education Association, said, "2.5 percent is not enough and it doesn't do enough to retain the best and brightest teachers."

Many democrats say they felt good about the governors speech and his education initiatives.

They say they're looking forward to the next 60 days while republicans said the speech was seriously lacking.

Delegate Mitch Carmichael, a Jackson County Republican, said, "I would like to say I was inspired by the speech tonight but I and others on my side were underwhelmed by the lack of innovative ideas."

Tax reform that would attract more businesses is what republicans say they want to see, but the governor says that's exactly what's been happening since he took office.

And he says he plans to give more money not just to teachers but also state employees.

Delegate Bonnie Brown, a Kanawha County Democrat, said, "The pay raises is a positive step and I hope that can come to fruition because state employees really need some compensation."

Republicans say they want to see a solid tax reform and believe that would help attract more businesses, but Governor Manchin says that's exactly what's been happening since he took office.

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