CLARKSBURG, W.Va. – The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs held one of its statewide listening tours Wednesday evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Clarksburg. 

The listening tour was launched in August of last year to hear what communities need and how the states American Rescue Plan Act allocation can help. Minority affairs officials will be continuing to conduct its listening tour throughout the Mountain State until December 2022. 

“Here in Harrison County this my 26th county that I have been to so far in this tour that started back in August of last year,” said Jill Upson, executive Director of the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. “We will finish up in December of this year. But what I am hearing between the morning meeting an the evening meeting is that there are a lot of concerns about updating the water treatment systems and I am still getting that dilapidated housing issue talked about a little bit. But it seems like the concerns here all involve infrastructure and updating infrastructure systems.” 

The Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs will be making stops in all 55 counties around the state. Much of the discussion in the meeting was about infrastructure and expansion of broadband with connectivity. 

“Its a once in a generation opportunity to get this kind of funding coming in from the federal government into West Virginia,” Upson said. “And the reason why were doing these listening tours is because we want to make sure we get it right that we can look back in 10 years and say the state got $1.35 Billion and it went there, there, there. And that is the opportunity that we have by doing these tours is by people coming out and telling the state what they deem as the most important needs.” 

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act to stimulate the nation’s recovery from the economic and health effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state has been allocated one point six billion in the American Rescue Plan Act. 

“It is an opportunity for you to have your voice heard, and if you’ve ever had a concern that maybe the state wasn’t doing the things that you thought we ought to be doing, spending money in ways you agree with. This is your chance to come out and to be on record,” Upson said. “All of this information is being compiled and being taken directly back to the governor’s office.” 

Topic for discussion include the Following: 

  • Pandemic-related challenges 
  • Targeting greatest needs 
  • Making an impact 
  • Sustainability 
  • Pooling resources 

At each stop, the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs team meets with local community leaders, followed by a public forum where all community members are invited to receive information and share their ideas.  

The next stop for the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs will be at the Hampton Inn in Weston on Monday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m.