West Virginia Senate President Mitch Carmichael claims the Republican party is responsible for the state’s economic turnaround and believes the election of President Donald Trump has only added to their prosperity.
“For the first time in over 83 years the people of over West Virginia selected the Republicans to lead the state in 2014,” Carmichael told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Both houses have been Democrat for 83 years and that leadership brought us the lowest income per capita in the country.”
Carmichael blamed Democratic leadership for a loss in population and manufacturing jobs, then accused them of selling out to special interest groups.
“All these markers point to a failure in leadership,” he said. “The good news is after only four years of Republican leadership our state is growing and we have had the most improved unemployment rate in America.”
The GOP’s policies have brought back construction jobs, increased wages and dramatically lowered the unemployment rate, Carmichael claimed.
“We’ve added more jobs, wage rates are rising, unemployment is down and we turned a budget deficit into a budget surplus this year. And we did it all without increasing taxes,” he continued.
Republican lawmakers focused on four major pillars to help the state bounce back: Regulatory reform, taxes, civil justice reform and education reform.
“We’ve eliminated over 10 percent of the rules and regulations were creating hurdles for job creators,” Carmichael told TheDCNF. “We have moved to lessen those burdens and have eliminated the tax on veterans pension benefits.”
“With education, we’ve lessened the testing burden and allowed the teachers to utilize their skills in the classroom,” he added.
Carmichael then praised Trump’s leadership and said the state was economically liberated when he was elected to the White House in 2016.
“Trump was an immediate relief to the energy sector,” Carmichael declared. “The night of the election it felt like the boot of the fed government had been lifted off our necks. President Trump has made a tremendous difference.”
One of the main issues still lingering for West Virginia is the opioid crisis, but Carmichael believes it can be tied to the state’s lack of economic prosperity.
“The most prominent area of opioid abuse are the places with the poorest economic climate,” he said. “Even in West Virginia, the specific areas hardest hit with addiction are the ones hardest hit economically with high unemployment.”
“The opioid crisis is huge in West Virginia, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Carmichael added. “We are doing better to create a better job environment to lessen the allure of opioids and the hopelessness that is associated with a lack of job opportunities.”
He hopes the state’s recent passage of a medical marijuana law back in 2017 will help expand treatment options and offer addicts viable alternatives.
“The people of West Virginia have rewarded this turnaround,” he concluded. “We’ve increased our majority, we made some very hard decisions but they ultimately resulted in prosperity in our state.”
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