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Warner should not be trusted

West Virginians, especially those of us who have loved ones who have or are currently facing addiction, desperately need the For The People Act, and Mac Warner has been actively undermining the bill because of his own corrupt agenda.

I am a senior at West Virginia University majoring in psychology and minoring in addiction studies. I was excited when I first heard about the For The People Act, because it sounded like the bill would expose dark money that’s paid to our politicians. It sounded like a chance to start reversing the opioid crisis in our state, which was caused in large part by the corporate greed of big pharma that made millions pumping unprecedented and unneeded amounts of opiates into our state and lobbying our politicians to avoid regulation.

But I am also someone who believes that one should weigh the pros and cons of something before deciding to support it. So, I decided to attend the Marion County Republican Executive Board meeting in Fairmont where Secretary of State Mac Warner was speaking in opposition of the For The People Act and learn more about potential concerns with the bill, since I had heard nothing but positives about S.1. To say that I walked out with more questions than I had answers would be an understatement.

Warner began by having two volunteers hold one sign that said “Access” in blue and one sign that said “Security” in red. He explained that it would be a football metaphor and had them both stand on the right side of the room at the “zero yard line.” He went through the history of voting in the United States, having both of the volunteers move to the left each time a new demographic of citizens was given the right to vote, showing that as access increased, security decreased. This metaphor puzzled me because it seemed to demonstrate that expanding voter access and reversing election security measures were mutually exclusive, which is not the case. The football references went on for a very long time and in the handout I received from Warner, 14 out of the 22 slides in the presentation had a picture of a football field with weird references to elections and voting that I couldn’t make sense of.

He even gave an entire play-by-play of the Steelers vs. Raiders game from 1971 and compared it to the differing beliefs of Democrats and Republicans on the 2020 election. He listed a multitude of “irregularities” with the 2020 election, which he said he couldn’t label “fraud,” but seemed to allude to it. When it came time to discuss his problems with S.1., he didn’t discuss any real facets of the bill and instead made claims that it would “impose the law of the land,” and left it at that.

Now that I’ve done enough research, I know the explanation behind this confusing meeting hosted by Warner. Big money is scared, and they’ve clearly gotten to Mac Warner. Big money knows that there’s wildly popular legislation out there that would reduce their ability to buy our elections, and of politicians in both parties to enrich and entrench themselves at our expense as they do now. Poll after poll after poll show that West Virginians from all across the political spectrum support the components of the For The People Act, including 75 percent of Trump voters. That’s why big money is trying to confuse us about what this bill would really do, when the reality is that it would make our democracy work for working people, not just for corporations and billionaires:

* Require disclosure of secret election spending

* Ban members of congress from serving on corporate boards

* Reduce the power of lobbyists

You may have heard this somewhere before: We need to drain the swamp. That’s what passing the For The People Act will do and there is still time to pass it. I am not going to stand for out-of-state special interests coming into our state to mislead us, or for the conditions that created the opioid crisis to continue. Now that I know the truth, I overwhelmingly support the For The People Act, just like the majority of West Virginians. We aren’t going to be fooled, and even though Warner may have been duped by big money, hopefully Senators Capito and Manchin won’t be.

Rylee Haught

Parkersburg

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