CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jeff Kessler called for a debate in a statement released Monday, saying it’s time to let voters know where the candidates stand on the issues facing West Virginia.

One of his opponents, billionaire Greenbrier owner Jim Justice called on the legislature to put both prevailing wage and right-to-work on the ballot this year for a referendum to amend West Virginia’s constitution.

“I love our state, and I hate to see it so divided. We can cure it by allowing the people to make this call. Let’s be honest, the politicians don’t know how to create jobs— the proof is in the pudding,” said Justice. “There are enough people on the outside throwing rocks at West Virginia and trying to keep us down; that’s why we need to be working together to put people back to work.”

Kessler spoke to the importance of the upcoming primary and election, and said debates are an important way for voters to see how a candidate thinks on his feet.

“There can be no more excuses,” said Kessler. “I will participate in a debate with my opponents anytime, anywhere, allowing either of them to select the location and forum. It is a disservice to citizens to ask for their vote, yet refuse to let them know where you stand on issues or how you plan to move the state forward.”

Monday was the fourth time in the last several months that Kessler has spoken out requesting a debate.

“I’m willing to give the people an open opportunity to ask me any question. Are my opponents willing to do the same?”

Justice remained focused less on debate, and more on wanting to change the culture of the Mountain State in a way that would create jobs.

“Eliminating the prevailing wage and right-to-work are issues that are too important to leave in the hands of career politicians in Charleston; so, I want the people to decide,” Justice said. “Even though I may have my own views, as governor, I will always support the will of the people.”

Primary day in West Virginia is May 10. Three candidates, including Kessler, Justice and former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin have filed to run.

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