"It's great to have a general here who doesn't have a lot of trinkets in his pocket, trying to buy votes," said Del. Roger Romine (R-Tyler) Saturday evening as he was welcoming West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey as the guest speaker to the Tyler County Republican Executive Committee's annual Lincoln Day Dinner.
Elected in November, Morrisey unseated Democrat Darrell McGraw who was known for giving out freebies emblazoned with his name. "I can promise you that the trinket distribution brigade has been dissolved," declared Morrisey during the event held at the Sistersville Volunteer Fire Department.
During his campaign the new attorney general had a 17-point plan for his first 100 days in office. "We've been able to accomplish a great deal in the first six to seven weeks," said Morrisey. However, he noted he has encountered more difficulties than he expected.
Pictured in the front row from left: Janet Hadley, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee member; Melody Potter, National Committeewoman for West Virginia; Becky Wells, chairperson of the Tyler County Republican Executive Committee; Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia Attorney General; Patty Boggs, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee treasurer; and Regina Pratt, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee member. In the back row: Ward Wyatt, executive director of the West Virginia Republican Party; Del. Roger Romine, R-Tyler; Mike Smith, vice chairman of the Tyler County Republican Executive Committee; Dustin Turner, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee member; and Conrad Lucas, West Virginia Republican Party chairman.
Consequently, on Feb. 20 he submitted his budget request to the state lawmakers and it included an additional $1.85 million, for a $5.5 million budget for the next fiscal year.
The supplemental request includes $260,000 for a new phone system, $1.06 million for computer software and hardware upgrades, and nearly $505,000 for hiring seven more employees.
While Morrisey didn't give specific numbers during his speech Saturday, he did note the deficiencies he found in the office when he first took over. He said there was no centralized filing system and the phone system was not fully operational. A total of 25 lawyers in his office do not have voicemail.
Further, he said no personnel reviews had been conducted in 18 years and there was no real accounting system in place.
Morrisey said some of the needed changes will cost money, but said he'll come up with some off-setting changes. That is when he mentioned the demise of trinkets. In the last year McGraw had spent nearly $750,000 on advertising. Morrisey said this extreme expenditure must come to an end.
The new attorney general said he is determined to "go after the good 'ol boy system in Charleston." He plans on instituting a competitive bidding system when his office needs to hire outside legal counsel. Morrisey said this would result in higher quality legal services at a lower cost for the citizens.
"Everyone doesn't agree with these changes," noted Morrisey, who added that he represents the antithesis of the status quo.
No matter the opposition, he said he strives to promote freedom, just like the state motto Mountaineers are always free. "Every day I walk into that office, I want to make sure I represent that motto," declared Morrisey.
Thanking Morrisey for his attendance at the dinner, Tyler County Republican Executive Committee Chairperson Becky Wells said the election of Morrisey may not have seemed like a landslide, at 51 percent, but it was a major victory.
Conrad Lucas, new chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, was also on hand to offer a few remarks. He said in West Virginia the Democratic party is losing 0.1 percent of its registered voters every month. By his calculations, sometime in the next two years the Democrats' share of the voting public should be less than half.