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West Virginia can’t wait

I’ve been obsessed with politics, government, society, culture and economics for over 15 years. In that time, I have never seen a campaign like the West Virginia gubernatorial campaign of Stephen Smith. The WV Can’t Wait campaign, as it is called, is not just about Stephen. Eighty-nine other candidates for public office have signed the WV Can’t Wait candidate pledge. The pledge states that signatories will not take corporate cash, will never cross a picket line, will never hide from a debate and will never punch down — remembering that “our fight is with the Good Old Boy Network in Charleston, not with each other.”

Smith’s platform as part of the WV Can’t Wait movement is just incredible. The ratified platform document consists of more than 100 pages, 32 separate plans and upward of 250 policy recommendations. Each plan is being released to the public steadily through April. This platform was compiled by thousands of West Virginians at 136 town halls, 550 additional visits to small businesses, union halls, churches, recovery programs and homes. More than 10,000 face-to-face, voter-to-voter conversations were logged in an app regarding the development of this platform and the WV Can’t Wait movement.

Stephen Smith believes, as do I, that the people affected by policy should be the people deciding what that policy is (i.e. veterans deciding veteran policy, the disabled deciding disability policy, recovering addicts deciding recovery policy, and the people of West Virginia whose water is being contaminated by industry deciding water regulatory policy).

The slogan of the WV Can’t Wait campaign is “1,000 Leaders, Not 1.” That is exactly what West Virginia needs. We have a chance this election cycle to vote for a candidate for governor who’s going to put a stop to West Virginia being a resource colony, a sacrifice zone, and a place that’s hemorrhaging population. Let’s return power to the people and take our state back from the good old boys club. Vote for Stephen Smith on May 12, 2020.

Eric Engle

Parkersburg

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