Morrisey encourages ‘future leaders’

The Inter-Mountain photo by Brooke Binns West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey addresses participants of the American Legion Auxiliary West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State Wednesday at Davis & Elkins College.

ELKINS — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey says the young women taking part in the American Legion Auxiliary West Virginia Rhododendron Girls State are the future leaders of the state.

Wednesday afternoon Morrisey visited the campus of Davis & Elkins College to speak with the participants of Girls State, noting he hopes to make his visit to the annual event a tradition.

“The reason why I’m so excited to be at Girls State is because this is an amazing tradition for you because this is something that started back in 1941. … For generations, Girls State has been training energetic, smart, young citizens like yourself in the basics of good, effective government, citizenship, and what it means to be good leaders within a community,” he said. “I love coming to these events because our most precious resource in life are our kids, and you (all) are going to be our future leaders of tomorrow.”

During his visit, Morrisey took a poll to ask students whether or not they planned to continue their education in West Virginia and whether or not they plan to relocate after college or pursue a career in the state. He encouraged the students to pursue opportunities within the state.

“The good news is you all are going to have some incredible opportunities right here in West Virginia. That’s important because for a state to prosper, we need your energy, we need your creativity and we want many of you to stay to make our state a better place to live,” Morrisey said.

He went on to say the attorney general’s office pushes for job growth in the state.

“I think, personally, that the possibilities for all of you and for our state are virtually endless, and with your leadership, we could have an amazing future here in our state,” he said. “One of the main focuses we’ve been working on in the attorney general’s office is to clear off a lot of the burdens that have made it harder in the past to produce jobs in West Virginia. We really work on pushing for job growth, and we do that, once again, because we want future generations to stay in West Virginia — you won’t have to move out of state to find good work.”

Candidates for Rhododendron Girls State are recommended by their high schools based on their interest in government, leadership, character and honesty, scholarship, cooperativeness, community participation, knowledge of parliamentary procedures and demonstration of above average scholastic achievement. Morrisey said he believes the event helps young women sharpen their leadership skills and learn the value of giving back.

“Our success as a state is up to you because — over the next 10 or 20 years — you’re going to be the leaders,” he said. “You’re here in a place that is going to teach you some incredible values. … The type of practical application of leadership, citizenship and patriotism – that’s been a foundation for thousands and thousands of bright and capable young leaders. … This week, if your mind is open to it, you can sharpen your leadership skills, your personal skills in developing relationships with other students that are here, and you can go back home and take home the knowledge that you can do incredible things in your home towns.”