|West Virginia Strong - The Comeback Plan
|Last week, Governor Jim Justice announced his plan for reopening the economy. Reopening will not happen suddenly, but with time. We should be able to open in a safe and cautious manner as long as we continue to follow the social distancing guidelines.
Phase one began on Thursday, April 30th. From there, each phase of the reopening process for Weeks 2-6 will begin on Monday of each subsequent week. COVID-19 case numbers will continue to be monitored throughout the entire reopening process.
The STAY-AT-HOME order was lifted on Sunday, May 3rd and a SAFER-AT-HOME was put in place on Monday, May 4th.
For more information on Governor Justice's plan, click here.
|Mother's Day Weekend
|A fun fact about Mother's day, it was founded in Grafton, West Virginia. Mrs. Anna Reeves Jarvis organized "Mothers' Work" in churches, talks on "Mothers of the Bible" and at the end of the Civil War held a "Mother's Friendship Day" service. It was on the first anniversary of her mother's death that Miss Anna Jarvis reviewed the outstanding accomplishments of her mother during Civil War days and gave the first "Mother's Day" address in May 1907. It was decided to have a "Mothers' Day" at the Andrews church annually on the second Sunday in May. Judge Ira E. Robinson who was a delegate to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal church at Minneapolis, in 1912, introduced the resolution which passed giving recognition to the day.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the wonderful mothers throughout West Virginia! Mary and I hope you are able to spend time with your family in a safe manner.
To read more on the history, click here.
|Brownfields Grant Announcement
|The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced three grants awarded to the first district of West Virginia from the EPA Brownfields Program. These grants will provide over $1 million in assistance to help communities assess and clean-up areas contaminated by previous industrial activity.
The communities receiving grants from WV-01:
- Brooke-Hancock Region XI Regional Planning and Development Council: 600,000
- WVU Research Corporation (Grafton, WV): $300,000
- West Virginia Land Stewardship Corporation (Morgantown): $500,000
The Brownfields Program has been an important tool to turn abandoned eyesores and repurposing them into an economic opportunity. This is exactly why I fought to reauthorize and expand the Brownfields Program. We have seen many examples of how these grants can be used to revitalize communities and spur additional economic development. These investments will make a difference across our state.
To read more, click here.
|This week, I lead a bipartisan letter to leadership in the House and Senate urging them to consider policies that would help our nation’s economy and ensure that the U.S. remains a key voice in the global energy conversation.
COVID-19 has resulted in global economic activity rapidly grinding to a halt. This has led to a significant drop in energy demand across the country, as well as a decline in energy prices. It is incumbent upon Congress to consider potential options to further stimulate the U.S. economy while our nation recovers from this pandemic.
To read the letter, click here.
For more information, click here.
|Support for Postal Workers
|Earlier this week, I joined my colleagues in helping lead the effort to ensure Congress is helping the United States Postal Service. Over the past decade, declining mail volume has caused the USPS to lose money and put it in a precarious financial situation. With the pandemic, mail volume has declined even further. Recently, the Postmaster General announced that with current projections the USPS will be insolvent before the end of September.
The USPS plays a vital role in keeping people connected and ensuring customers receive important goods like medicine. I will continue to support postal workers and ensure the service many West Virginians count on continues especially during COVID-19.
To read more, click here.
|Fighting to Protect the Safety of Our Corrections Officers and Community
| As you may know, the Federal Bureau of Prisons and U.S. Marshals chose several locations across the country including Hazelton United States Penitentiary and the Gilmer Federal Correctional Institution to be quarantine sites for out-of-state inmates. Hazelton could be receiving inmates from prisons in Washington D.C. where there has been a confirmed outbreak.
The transfer of these prisoners not only puts the health and safety of inmates, correctional officers, support staff, and the children and families of Hazelton staff but all throughout the region. Our office has been working on this from the very beginning. We have held calls with BOP leadership and correctional officers, sent a letter to BOP opposing this move and more. We will continue to work diligently on this matter.
This past week, I joined the Office of West Virginia Attorney General and Senator Shelley Moore Capito in writing U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar to help secure point-of-care testing machines for FCI Gilmer and FCI Hazelton, which can provide COVID-19 results in as little as five minutes.
For more information, click here.
To read more on the individual letter sent to BOP, click here.
For more information on the joint letter, click here.
|Small Business Resources
|To date, over 14,000 West Virginia small businesses have benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program! Applications are OPEN for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The EIDL loans are only available for small agricultural businesses. Small business owners can visit the SBA website for more information on what programs may be best for your business.
Who is eligible for PPP? Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, non-profits, sole proprietors, self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers. The PPP is a forgivable loan, if an employer maintains its payroll, then the portion of the PPP loan used for covered payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent, and utilities would be forgiven.
My office is collecting stories from small businesses in West Virginia that have received/benefited from the Paycheck Protection Program. If you are interested in sharing your story, click here!
For more information on PPP, click here.
For more information on EIDL, click here.
To share your story of PPP, click here.
|Thank you for those who participated in our telephone town hall Thursday evening. We had guest speakers Brian Abraham, General Counsel for Governor Justice and Todd Clossin, CEO of Wesbanco to answer questions from constituents regarding COVID-19, re-opening the economy, and other items. Check our Facebook or Twitter page for information on when the next telephone town hall will be.
ICYMI: Last week on Friday I discussed on WCHS & WVAH TV the latest information on what legislation Congress is working on to help combat COVID-19.
To watch the interview, click here.
|Did you complete the census?
|West Virginia is ranked second to last on the self-response rate to the 2020 census. The national average rate of completion is 58.1%, whereas in West Virginia the self-response rate is 45.6%. When you respond to the census, you help your community gets its fair share of money per year in federal funds spent on schools, hospitals, roads, public works and other vital programs. Complete the census online, by mail, or call-in so you can be counted!
For more information on the census, click here.
|We encourage everyone to follow the CDC recommendations on how to help protect yourself and others.
Take these steps to protect yourself:
Take these steps to protect others:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, which the chorus to Country Roads lasts about that long.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% of alcohol.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in the community.
- Wear a cloth face covering in public settings.
For more updated information from the CDC click here.
- Stay home if you are except to receive medical care.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with tissues and throw away the tissue.
- Clean and disinfect touched surface areas daily.
|West Virginia Resources COVID-19
Over one thousand COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in West Virginia as of today. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources established a toll-free hotline for questions from the public and medical providers concerning the pandemic. The department also has a website with the most up-to-date information regarding the confirmed and pending cases.
Click here for more information.
West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Toll-Free Hotline 24/7
1- 800 - 887- 4304