EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSGOP AGENDA
from Eyewitness News Online
Jobs, Education At Top Of GOP Agenda
Reported by: Kallie Cart
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Kallie Cart
Reported: Feb. 12, 2013 6:58 PM EST
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is set to lay out his plan in Wednesday's State of the State address, which will culminate the first day of the 81st Legislative session. But ahead of his speech, Republicans came together on Tuesday to announce their agenda.
The Republicans in the House of Delegates sees this session as historic, with the most GOP members they've had in more than 80 years There are 46 member, still not a majority, but they believe they're close enough to be heard. Their top priorities are jobs and education.
West Virginia ranks last when it comes to the number of people actually working, with only 53% labor participation and the number of unemployed has climbed to nearly 60,000.
"They're struggling, no matter how rosy some people might paint a picture, those 60,000 people and their families are hurting and we can't afford to move slowly," Republican Delegate Patrick Lane of Kanawha County says.
Among the proposals for job creation, the GOP wants to reduce business taxes. They're hopeful the bill will gain more steam this year with 11 additional seats.
Delegate Mike Folk of Berkeley County is one of the new members. He says he knows first hand what West Virginians are going through because he was unemployed for four years until he found a job with the airlines.
"Saw first hand how regulations and taxation can put a small business out of business," Del. Folk says.
Gop lawmakers are also calling for education reform, which is expected to be a top priority in the Governor's State of the State.
"We're failing in our education system today, we have good teachers, but their hands are tied in so many ways by the structure that we have in West Virginia, the top heavy bureaucratic structure that we have and we can do things to address that and we should do that this year," House Minority Leader Tim Armstead says.
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