Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

Interim meetings in Wheeling were interesting and informative.
The Joint Standing Committee on Economic Development and Tourism heard from Marv Sixx of the Business Development Corporation about development in Brooke, Hancock, Marshall, Ohio, and Wetzel counties, as well as Josh Jefferson from the Regional Economic Development Partnership. Economic development projects include the Park Drive Project Development, which is attracting retail and residential development. Weirton Steel, once the state’s largest employer, is now building the Weirton Frontier Crossing development. Form Energy’s $750 million investment, tied to 750 jobs, is expected to contribute over $155 million annually to the state’s economy. Brooke County’s revenue is increasing, and government properties improved.
Economic momentum is evident across the state, with developments such as Wheeling Streetscape, WVU Medicine, Marshall University, Thirumalai Chemical Plants, and Form Energy.
In addition to meetings, we attended different site visits in the Wheeling area which included the Highlands Shopping Center, Highlands Sports Complex, Team Sledd Distribution Center, and Touchstone. All are positively impacting the economy of the northern panhandle.
As we walked through the doors at Touchstone, we saw walls lined with patents that the company had created. President and CEO, Brian Joseph conducted our tour and presentation. Touchstone is known as “one of the world’s most innovative composite tooling suppliers for the aerospace industry.” One of those innovative products is CFOAM, a carbon foam made from baking coal. Coal is a source of fuel, but is also carbon ore used in thermal insulation, fireproofing, and composite tooling. This is due to its excellent mechanical and thermal properties. It is exciting to see coal playing a role in spaceships and rockets and to see another use for coal.
Once again, West Virginia can use those resources. I left Touchstone excited and inspired by the opportunities that are available and by the innovation in the aerospace industry, right here in West Virginia.
During the meetings, it was oft mentioned that when West Virginia wins, we all win. While I certainly agree, I am actively researching and pursuing development opportunities for Braxton and Gilmer counties.
As we begin to start the week of Thanksgiving, I would like to share the story of Sarah Hale and how she saved Thanksgiving. There was a time in our country that Thanksgiving was fading away. The New England states celebrated but not as much in the other regions. Sara Hale was an author and editor who believed that Thanksgiving should be a National Day of Thanksgiving. She suggested it be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by the entire country like one big family. She wrote thousands of letters and articles while contacting presidents for 38 years making such a request. At every turn, her request was denied until President Lincoln proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving and Praise during the Civil War, in 1863. (He would also proclaim West Virginia a state in that same year.)
“I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” (President Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863)
I am thankful and admire Sara Hale’s vision, commitment, and tenacity. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, and I treasure the time with family and friends. I thank God for the blessings he has bestowed on me. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve the 63rd District and the state of West Virginia. It is an honor to be on this journey with you. I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!
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@wv or 304-701-8600.