This week saw a major turnout of citizen voices at the State Capitol. Hundreds of union workers attended a rally hosted by Minority Leader Senator Jeff Kessler (Marshall Co.) on President’s Day, Feb. 16.
After the Senate passed the prevailing wage bill last Thursday, Senator Kessler called on West Virginia workers and their supporters to attend the “Show Up, Stand Up” rally at the Capitol. The rally was held to express public frustration about a number of bills relating to business, workforce and union issues, including the Right to Work, prevailing wage, and Coal Jobs & Safety bills.
Despite a record-setting snowstorm hitting much of the state, almost 1000 union members and supporters stood on the front steps of the Capitol to hear speeches by Kessler, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, Delegate Mike Caputo (Marion Co.), Senator Bob Beach (Monongalia Co.). Speakers also included representatives from unions and the Democratic party.
Republican leaders did not attend the rally but released public statements following the event stating that they were working on policies to help working West Virginians and that they were pleased that West Virginians were making their voices heard in the Capitol.
Another group that got a lot of attention on President’s Day were veterans. Both the House and Senate honored veterans by declaring February 16 Veterans Visibility Day.
It felt like a special day at the Capitol on Monday, with the storm brewing outside and the halls full of veterans and West Virginia workers. As Senate President Bill Cole told the Daily Mail that day, “Our job…is to make decisions that will serve the best interests of this state and all of its citizens.”