Government, The Braxton Democrat

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

Thanksgiving week has come and gone with time spent with family sharing old and new traditions and making memories. One of our traditions that I look forward to is our annual trip to the Berry Fork Christmas Tree Farm.
We have been going for thirty plus years. Like many of you, we hike the hills looking not for the perfect tree, but the tree that will be right, and we find it along with wreaths that fill our home with the fragrant scent of pine. I appreciate Ed and Willa Grafton providing this service to our community with the work and care of their and others’ hands! I also enjoy seeing former students who are working hard during the season. I am so often reminded how fortunate I am to live in central West Virginia. It may not be a Hallmark movie, but it is close. A quick glance through the paper, you will see opportunities to enjoy parades, concerts, giveaways, and other gatherings. It is a wonderful time for our communities to shine!
Will, Hannah, and I experienced Light the Night at the GoMart Ballpark in Charleston. We walked through Christmas light displays made up of two million lights choreographed to Christmas music. It was magical! Additional experiences include an ice-skating rink, a Ferris wheel and other winter wonderland areas. The light show is open daily from 5 p.m. until January 1. The planning and ingenuity to create such a display and then execute it is genius.
Two years ago, Brad D. Smith and his wife, Alys, through their Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative launched the Ascend West Virginia remote worker incentive program. To combat the state’s population loss, the program’s goal is to attract remote workers by offering incentives which help with relocation, networking, and professional development resources.
In these two years, tens of thousands have applied from all 50 states and over 80 countries. A total of 299 people has made the move to West Virginia. Over the next five years the program expects 1,000 remote workers and their families to make West Virginia their home. Another program, First Ascent, focuses on graduates. Marshall University President
Brad D. Smith said, “…let’s get creative and innovative and remove barriers so that our sons and
daughters can stay here in this state…and continue the great state of West Virginia.” Small, friendly towns, strong family values, outdoor recreation, and a spirit of freedom are enticing.
I’m optimistic about West Virgnia’s future and continue to work to bring jobs to our area to allow our children to remain here and build their own lives.
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!… There’s no place like home.”
(Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz movie/The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum)
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.