CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s virtual COVID briefing, Monday, touched on the state’s coronavirus situation briefly, before pivoting to the invasion of Ukraine, the state legislative session and other topics.
The governor recognized the West Virginia National Guard’s service, as it is currently in its longest continuous activation in state history, it’s general said. At the height, more than 700 servicemembers worked in the state related to the pandemic, while the number jumped up to 1,000 including overseas deployments.
Justice said he may be close to being able to rescind the state of emergency he issued, related to the pandemic, two years ago.
Gov. Justice also said he may soon be able to cut back on the number of COVID briefings he holds.
The governor then turned his attention to the situation in Ukraine, describing Vladimir Putin as a “calculating, misguided individual that’s really smart.”
“Our weakness in this country have provoked this, period,” the governor said, continuing that “we’re begging: ‘please don’t be mean to us.'”
Justice went on to say that Americans shouldn’t be afraid of Russia, China and others. “When you’re afraid, bad things happen,” Justice said, suggesting that instead the U.S. should lead from a point of strength.
The governor also suggested that energy independence would give the U.S. that position of strength and that West Virginia coal, oil and gas can be a part of that. “West Virginia is being called on to save the world,” he declared, but also said that the Biden administration is trying to cripple West Virginia’s energy industry.
Going on, Justice said that he “stands rock solid for all alternative energies,” but believes fossil fuels are needed now. If climate control is real, the governor said, he believes “God will give us time for smart people to fix it” Gov. Justice said. “God wants us to prosper and move forward,” he continued.
The governor also said that he may call a special session to ask the state legislature for $5 million that would go toward rebuilding part of a destroyed maternity ward in Ukraine. The money would come from state surpluses and would not be delivered until the fighting end, Justice explained.
Speaking on bill that was not passed by the legislature, Justice promised that his administration will find money to give pay raises to state CPS workers.
He also congratulated the winners of last week’s girls state basketball tournament.