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Getting involved on the state level

When washing my laundry, I noticed the items were not as clean as I would like them to be. I wasn’t getting the results I wanted.

I was using the same machine, same detergent, same water level, and same temperature of water so the laundry was always the same. I thought perhaps it was the machine itself, or the hot water heater or pipes.

I determined the detergent was the problem so I changed detergent and I got better results.

Politics is that way.

I determined the problem with politics was that I didn’t know enough about the working of politics or enough about the politicians. What I do know – like the detergent that I changed – is that my understanding of politics had to change or it would always be the same.

I realized I needed to know more about West Virginia and its politics. I knew that I had to start somewhere so in April, I went to YouTube to “travel through the 55 counties of West Virginia.”

I didn’t want to miss any so I had my list of counties ready to mark off as this nice young man took me through each county. He described the important points of each county. I discovered West Virginia is a beautiful state with great possibilities for its people.

I also realized I didn’t know the workings of politics. How could I form an intelligent decision when voting? I needed more information. I started with the West Virginia Constitution. After reading a few pages, I realized from my understanding that the state constitution cannot contradict the United States Constitution, so I read it first.

In my reading I was educated on the documents stating the rights of children. I read the United States Constitution, the West Virginia Constitution and the West Virginia State Code. I was amazed at how ill informed I was in regard to politics and the availability of the necessary documents to understand West Virginia politics and government.

I am encouraging the West Virginia Board of Education to implement these documents into their high school curriculum. Students are graduating at the voting age of 18 without knowledge of the contents of these documents.

“A well-informed student body can make a well-informed voting public.”

“The greatest weapon politicians have is the people’s lack of knowledge or how government works”

Just like my detergent: wrong ingredients, wrong results.

After traveling through West Virginia, I watched the State of State addresses from past and present governors. Then a disturbing segment, of which I was totally unaware, came on in regard to the opioid epidemic in West Virginia

The first segment I watched was on people living in cardboard boxes and tents under bridges in Huntington, W.Va. The segment said that Huntington was the hardest hit with the epidemic. I didn’t understand and still don’t understand why this was allowed to happen. We have members on the city council and county commission in each of the 55 counties, the legislature, a governor, a police force, public school personnel, and citizens in general and all this happened on our watch.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Gov. Jim Justice approved a $37 million settlement with McKesson Corporation, a corporation who supplied the drugs to citizens of West Virginia. McKesson funneled more than 100 million opioids into the state, causing $8.8 billion in annual damage. Who pays the difference in damages?

Two years ago, West Virginia settled two lawsuits with Cardinal Health Inc. for $20 million. It also settled a lawsuit against AmerisourceBergen Corp. for $16 million. I am not aware of any articles indicated those individuals or medical professionals who received the drugs from the suppliers or informing the public of the status of those individuals hospitals or medical professionals who prescribed the opioids to individuals. I am also not aware of how the money is to be distributed.

Just recently I revisited West Virginia through Youtube. The segment on opioids prompted this article you are now reading. A six-month-old bright pink baby was twisting, turning and jerking form opioid addiction.

Is this what we have become? It was a horrible sight. You don’t want to watch it, or maybe you should if it would change your mind in regard to politics.

The ‘New World Dictionary” defines politics as the science and art of political government; political sciences, political affairs, the conducting of or participation in political affairs, often as a profession, or unprincipled methods, political opinions, principles or party connections and factional scheming for power and status with a group (office politics). Sound familiar?

Join me. Get involved. Together we can give West Virginia back to the people and make a difference.

Shelby Jean Fitzhugh

Martinsburg

Republican candidate for governor

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