Morris, Smith Eye Wetzel County Commission Seat
Democrats Greg Morris and B.B. Smith are campaigning for a seat on the Wetzel County Commission. This seat will be vacated by current commissioner, Robert Gorby, when he retires at the end of December 2018, the end of his current term.
The Wetzel Chronicle recently e-mailed simple questionnaires to each commission candidate, along with a request for a brief biography.
Greg Morris has been a lifelong resident of Wetzel County. Morris has been on the Wetzel County Democrat Executive Committee, serving as a chairman for several years. While this is Morris’ first foray in seeking public office, he feels he can represent the citizens of the county by drilling down and listening to their needs. “I have been fortunate to be able to live, work, worship and spend recreational time in the county.
Morris said he feels the county’s best asset is its people, and “we should make sure we are boosting each other up, by helping those struggling with addiction, funding veterans and senior services” and continuing to support EMS and police departments and providing safe spaces for kids and families to enjoy.
B.B. Smith has a strong record of supporting local working men and women, and he wants to continue serving residents as a member of the Wetzel County Commission.
Smith is a lifelong Democrat. During his entire adult life, he has supported and actively fought for the rights of unions and the betterment of working men and women in Wetzel County and throughout West Virginia. Smith has worked in State government for 11 years, and he is a 50-year member of Boilermakers Local 667. Smith is the current President of the Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and has served in this position for 14 years.
While working for the State Auditor’s office, B.B. was instrumental in passing legislation giving local government entities the ability to use purchasing cards. This legislation resulted in millions of dollars in savings and rebates to county government, boards of education, and municipalities.
He is one of the organizers of the annual Paden City Labor Day celebration, the largest in West Virginia, and regularly supports events in Wetzel County. Smith is a member of a number of local organizations including, the American Legion, VFW, and the Moose Lodge in New Martinsville, and the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Paden City. He also serves on the Board of the Paden City Economic Development Authority.
Smith is a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a recipient of the Bronze Star Medal and the Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. Smith is the proud father of two children and has two grandchildren.
**The county has been blessed in the past few years due to revenue from the oil and gas industry. The extra funds have allowed for improvements and purchases for various organizations. Is there a particular area where you feel money should be invested?
* Greg Morris: This county has absolutely been blessed by the oil and gas industry’s presence here. This development occurs largely out in the county on the ridges and in the hollows. These are the people who are lacking most in regards to things like reliable high speed internet access and cell phone usability. I would like to see the money used to help the people in rural Wetzel County catch up to the towns such as New Martinsville and Paden City. With reliable internet and cell service, the smaller towns may be able to attract more business and even oil and gas offices that turn to other places which have the basic infrastructure.
* B.B. Smith: Oil and gas will continue to provide opportunities in Wetzel County. We need to be fiscally responsible and plan ahead, and protect the interests of Wetzel County and all residents. We have some of the hardest working people in the State, but it has been difficult for some to find work. I support working families and will work hard to bring new jobs to Wetzel County. The county commissioners have worked hard to put in new water lines in various parts of the county, I support continuing these water lines. As we all know, our county has been devastated by floods and other tragedies over the past year. I’m a believer that we need to support those on the front lines protecting our families. I will continue to support our EMS, fire departments, and all first responders so we can make Wetzel County safe and secure for all residents. It’s hard to believe that in some parts of Wetzel County there is no cell service, or service is poor at best.
**Name a few goals you would have for the county, as a commissioner.
* Greg Morris: As stated previously, reliable high speed internet and improved cell service are two goals I hope to work with the existing county commissioners to make reality for so many that need it.
I would like to help combat the local drug problem by working to get a treatment facility here in the local area. So many of our citizens need help that is difficult to get because there are so few facilites with vacancy, and the distance they would have to travel to get there.
Another goal is to continue to expand and build up our facilities to give families and youth safe places to spend their time. Last year, the county commissioners gave the money to have a kayak launch installed at the 4-H Grounds, this is a project I would like to see expanded out into the county. It would be nice to have more bike trails throughout the county as well. I would like to see funding continued for the county pools and parks.
I would like to see a full-time staffed EMS squad in Hundred. They already have facilities available in the Hundred Fire Department. Hundred sometimes has to relay on EMS services from Pennsylvania in times of emergency.
I would like to support the local fairs and festivals to help them to grow as these are where some families spend their vacations. Tourism has an 8 to 1 rate of return on investment. We should be promoting our county and our festivals in oder to gain more money for other endeavors and to boost local businesses.
* BB Smith: First and foremost, protection and safety of our residents and children should be of utmost important. Like many others in Wetzel County, I have family members and friends that work in the schools and my grandchildren attend school in Wetzel County. One goal of mine is to work with law enforcement to ensure that our children, teachers, and service personnel are safe and they feel secure in the schools. In addition, many families in our community have been hit hard with the opioid epidemic sweeping our area. It is costing lives, and costing our county millions of dollars. We need to work closely with law enforcement and local agencies to continue to combat this issue and support those families in need. The oil and gas industry has provided many opportunities, but with those opportunities brings challenges. Another goal is to develop much needed infrastructure to support those activities, which will create more jobs for hard working Wetzel County residents. Our county commission has done an incredible job putting in and extending new water lines in Wetzel County. My goal is to work with commissioners and local businesses to continue to extend these water lines throughout Wetzel County. Another goal of mine is to improve communication throughout the county. It’s hard to believe that some areas of our county are without cell phone service. My goal is to improve broadband service to those areas that have service, and eventually obtain cell phone service to all part of Wetzel County.