Top W.Va. Republican calls for Gov. Justice's resignation

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP/WSAZ) -- A top West Virginia Republican is calling for Gov. Jim Justice to resign.

A top West Virginia Republican is calling for Gov. Jim Justice to resign.

Sen. Craig Blair on Monday said the Republican governor should step down to deal with the many court cases that have dogged his businesses.

Blair is chairman of the Senate finance committee. He first called for Justice's resignation in a newspaper column over the weekend.

The governor has sparred publicly with ranking Republicans over a Senate GOP education plan that has brought dozens of teachers to the Capitol in protest. Justice has said the Republican leader of the Senate misled him on the bipartisan support of the bill.

Justice has been beset by damaging court cases regarding fines and debts owed by his private businesses.

Monday afternoon, Justice spoke out during a news conference, saying division within the (Republican) party is not good and that Blair and Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, are digging a hole.

“Be fair, that’s all I’m saying,” Justice said.

Justice said he believes the funding is available to another 5% pay raise for all state employees, as well as to boost funding for public insurance (PEIA).

“I want no strings attached,” Justice said. “I want us to own this issue.”

Justice also said he is frustrated with the Senate’s wavering on educational spending accounts (ESAs).

“I hate like crazy we are spending taxpayers’ dollars, and we are not going anywhere here,” the governor said.

Justice also said he’s “not a union guy” but he believes lawmakers and union leaders should all be working together.

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