Braxton Citizens' News, Opinion

Congratulations Tom Clark…

I want to begin this writing congratulating Tom Clark of Webster County on his appointment to the House of Delegates. Tom is an old friend. He is the brother of Carolyn Long which is how I first met him. He is also a past owner of the Webster Echo newspaper. During his time at the helm of that publication we had a number of joint dealings and collaborated on several projects. We also served on the West Virginia Press Association Board of Directors together.

I spoke with Tom a few weeks ago when I found out he had filed to run for the House. Tom has been active in politics in his county for as long as I have known him. In fact, he will be resigning as president of the Webster County Commission to accept the House appointment.

Tom is a very honorable man who has the best interest of his community and the state of West Virginia at heart. He will make a great delegate and I wish him well.

On a different note…

I often see articles pass my desk that rank our state in various ways. Some are good, more often than not, they are not very flattering. Such was the case this week.

A new study has identified the region with the unhealthiest population in America. Forbes Advisor conducted the analysis and ranked each state based on several factors, including rates of drug abuse, unhealthy lifestyle habits, and chronic disease. Guess where West Virginia ranked?

Well, if you chose at the top of the list, you would be correct. Our beloved state is ranked as the unhealthiest state in America. The drug epidemic has a lot to do with our distinction in this category. The Mountain State, considered ground-zero for America’s opioid crisis, stands out with the highest drug overdose death rate in the U.S., according to the Forbes Advisor analysis. Lately, the use of fentanyl and the so-called “zombie drug” xylazine has fueled the state’s epidemic, NewsNation reported.

West Virginia also has the highest percentage of adults who smoke (21%), the highest percentage of adults who are obese (41%), and the second shortest life expectancy nationwide (73.9 years). Mississippi is deemed the second unhealthiest state.

While I like for our state to be recognized nationally, this certainly isn’t the direction we should go. Unfortunately, I don’t have the answer. Hopefully, some of the opioid money that has recently been released will have a positive impact on getting us off this list or at least away from the number “1” position.