Gov. Justice says he will not resign

PARKERSBURG — West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has no plans to quit.

The first-term governor on Wednesday issued a statement saying the rumors of a resignation are untrue.

“When is this silliness going to stop? I didn’t sign up for this to just stop when it gets a little bit tough,” Justice said. “I’m in this for the long haul.

“The rumors about me resigning are totally unfounded and without truth. The people that are circulating this information are being counterproductive,” he said. “We need to stick to the truth and the important business at hand.”

On Tuesday, Delegate Mike Folk, R-Berkeley, told The Parkersburg News and Sentinel he was seeking support for the impeachment of the governor based on a residency clause in the state Constitution.

“I’m working on getting signatures,” Folk said.

Folk had no further comment, other than citing Article VII Section 1 of the state Constitution that says the executive officers – governor, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, commissioner of agriculture and attorney general – “…shall reside at the seat of government during their terms of office…”

Folk is a Republican from the 63rd District and an airline pilot. He was elected to the House in 2012 and is a member of the conservative Liberty Caucus in the House.

A statement was requested Tuesday from Justice, of which there was no response.

Comments also were not immediately available from Melody Potter, chairman of the state Republican Party, or Belinda Biafore, Democratic Party chairman.

Justice, who owns coal mines and The Greenbrier, a world-class luxury resort in Greenbrier County, ran as a Democrat, but switched to the Republican Party during a rally by President Trump in Huntington last fall.

Folk also sent a text about the issue to Wood County Republican Party Chairman Rob Cornelius on Tuesday. Cornelius said he also is considering a mandamus action against the governor to compel his performance to live in Charleston and conduct his job there, full time.

“At the core of this issue, the governor refuses to live in Charleston and conduct the business of the state there. Period. Whether you disagree with his policies or not, Jim Justice clearly chooses to ignore our state’s Constitution deliberately. Is he too ill to serve? Does he think himself to be above the law? Rules matter,” Cornelius said. “We deserve a full-time, conservative governor who respects this state and all its laws.”