Lincoln Day Dinner Held in Sistersville
The Tyler County Republican Executive Committee held its Annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday, March 23 at the First Baptist Church in Sistersville. In attendance were Republicans from Tyler County, several local and state political figures, along with U.S. Congressman David McKinley.
The event started off with Sistersville City Councilman and Tyler County Republican Committee member Alex King leading the group in the Pledge of Allegiance. Tyler County Commissioner Mike Smith delivered the invocation. Those in attendance were served a delicious baked steak dinner prepared and served by volunteers from the First Baptist Church.
Janet Hadley, chairperson of the Tyler County Executive Committee, opened the meeting by inviting State Delegate David Kelly to be the first speaker.
Kelly stated he just wanted to express his appreciation for all those who voted for him. He said this past legislative session was a successful one, and a great deal was accomplished. He said there was plenty that didn’t get done, and lawmakers will probably have to return to Charleston to address the unfinished business.
Kelly said one of the bills he is proud of is the elimination of personal income tax on Social Security benefits.
He also spoke about tax credits for coal and coal severance tax. Kelly was proud to be part of the broadband bill which will bring service to many places in the back parts of the state. He said work on secondary roads was another important part of the session.
Another accomplishment Kelly was excited about was foster care reform. He stated there are approximately 7,000 kids in foster care in West Virginia, not including grandparents who raise their grandchildren.
Kelly said working for Tyler and Doddridge counties has been a blessing for him. He said he wanted to thank everyone for putting their trust and confidence in him, and he looks forward to continuing to move this area and the state forward.
Hadley then introduced the main speaker for the evening, West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner. Warner first thanked everyone who helped organize the meeting and dinner and then wasted no time in addressing issues he believes is making a difference in how other states look at West Virginia. Warner said one of the first things he did when taking office was to get rid of people who didn’t want to work and replace them with people who were interested in working to make this state a better place.
Warner spoke about his experience as an officer in the military and how it has helped him in his current position. He said there are three major areas that he saw needed changed, and number one was making the state a one-stop business center. Warner said, in the past, it has been a nightmare for people looking to start a business, stating that with all the red tape, it often would take as long as two weeks and several trips to Charleston just to obtain a business license.
“I looked at that and recognized the need for a change. It was just not a good way to treat prospective businesses.”
Warner said what he did was work to speed up the process, so someone wanting to start a new business can do so in one day and one stop. “We did this by combining the Secretary of State’s office, the State Tax Department, the Division of Labor, and Workforce West Virginia all in one place at the West Virginia One Stop Business Center.”
The center provides free parking and easy access. It’s a cooperative multi-agency effort to encourage business growth in West Virginia. The agency is located at 1615 East Washington Street, Charleston. It gives businesses new or start-ups tools and access they would have normally only been able to get separately.
The second concern for Warner was figuring out a way to allow people to vote using a mobile device smart phone. He said, in the past, there have been a lot of people who couldn’t vote, especially soldiers overseas and citizens living in foreign countries. He believes, with smart phones, voting can be done in a safe and secure way. He showed a short film on how this has been accomplished and the safeguards that have been taken to prevent voter fraud. He talked about the training the county clerks have received to make sure there are no security problems.
Warner said when he was in the service, and in Afghanistan, he saw farmers pushing carts and pulling plows while talking on phones, and that’s when the idea struck that there should be a way to vote. He said he missed voting twice because he was overseas, but now there is a way for our military to vote. Warner said it will also be helpful for people who may not be able to get out to vote because of illness or disability.
The third subject Warner wanted to talk about was cyber security and the way Russia has tried to use to influence our elections and cause dissension among our citizens. He explained Russia cannot get to the United States with its military, so it will try to use other ways to attack. Warner said the United States has people monitoring the activity of those countries at all times.
Following Warner’s speech there was a period of questions and answers. Several people expressed appreciation of Secretary Warner, for sharing his information and letting them the public know what has been happening to make West Virginia a safe and attractive place to live.