Government, The Braxton Democrat

Legislative Update…By Lori Dittman WV House of Delegates 63rd District

Interims were held last week in Huntington. Dr. Stephen Loyd addressed the Health and Human Resource committee. He expressed to the committee that addiction is a complex disease that affects the frontal lobe, which controls impulse and empathy. Treatment for individuals with SUD includes employment support, life skills development, heath checks, education support, peer support, stable support, and case management. Harm reduction strategies such as naloxone, syringe exchange programs, and voluntary reversible long-action contraception are needed. Additional support is needed during pregnancy and postpartum, and treatment should be provided in prisons and jails. Data collection and research support are needed to continue using best practices for prevention and recovery. This is a non-partisan issue and one that will take cooperation from many. He also spoke about creating less demand through prevention programs that are evidence-based. In the words of Dr. Stephen, “Addiction is treatable. Treatment works. People recover.”
Marshall President Brad Smith shared a message about “Marshall for All, Marshall Forever” which carries the goal of no student graduating with debt. Higher education is facing a transition due to increasing debt and digital transformation. Students are looking to non-traditional providers for low-cost, anytime/anywhere access to education. Additionally, Marshall will focus on continuing education and manufacturing innovation.
While visiting Marshall’s campus, I was delighted to see Braxton County native, Buffy Six, and recent graduate of Marshall now employed as Marshall’s Special Events Coordinator for Recruitment and Admissions.
I also attended the Joint Committee on Volunteer Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Services who advanced a working compromise bill that will increase funding. The committee also heard from Kari Mika-Lude, PhD, on mental wellness for first responders.
The tours included seeing Marshall’s Innovation District, new College of Business Building, Cyber and Advanced Manufacturing Center, NUCOR site with Region 2 Planning and Development Council, and ALCON. Good things are happening in West Virginia, and I look forward to seeing more development and investment in our state.
I would like to give a big thank you to local volunteer firefighters, Randy James, Donald Conrad, Lauren Manns, and Kellie Rose for spending the day with my eighth grade West Virginia Studies Class and sharing with them the importance of civic responsibility, fire safety, and opportunities for our students. I know two of them, maybe more now, will be attending Junior Firefighter Camp which will train and educate youth from across the country.
In his column last week, Brent Boggs mentioned holding interims in Central West Virginia. I agree and will encourage this. The possibilities are endless in Braxton and Gilmer counties for hotel stays for legislators, restaurants, scenic tours taking in the beauty of our area, higher education opportunities at Glenville State University, and much more. In the broader central West Virginia area, there are also points of interest in Lewis and Upshur counties.
Earlier today, I attended the graduation ceremony at WVU for the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. My daughter, Hannah, graduated with her Master’s in Social Work. My husband, Will, and I are so proud of her and excited for her future as she begins her career providing therapy to adolescents and families here in West Virginia. As I watched her process into the coliseum and then walk across the stage, the years flashed before my eyes. It seems like yesterday she started kindergarten at Davis Elementary School. I am thankful for all the teachers and mentors in her life who helped her along the way. I could not have had a better Mother’s Day.
I would like to extend my congratulations to all the college graduates from Braxton and Gilmer counties. Go out and make your mark on the world.
I would also like to congratulate West Virginia Golden Horseshoe winners from Braxton County, Darren Boggs, Alexandra Branham, Joslynn Wittmer Napier, and from Gilmer County, Michael Holmes, and Caeleb Pounds.
“You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”
—Tom Brokaw
I look forward to hearing from people in the district and hope to see you out and about enjoying all the great things our area has to offer. I can be contacted at lori.dittman@ or 304-701-8600.