MORGANTOWN, W.Va — With just a couple of weeks until the presidential inauguration of Donald Trump, one West Virginia native said the success of Trump and other elected officials lies in the success of West Virginians.
Dan McGinn, the founder and CEO of McGinn and Company, a consulting practice based in Arlington, Virginia, said in a recent interview on MetroNews “Talkline” more people are paying attention to West Virginia in order to better understand white, working class individuals and their issues.
“My friends in Washington — people who don’t have a connection to West Virginia or don’t have a connection to blue collar and working class families — you know, they are confused and surprised and frustrated by all of this, but I tell them there is a white, hot anger here,” McGinn said.
McGinn, a Nitro native, said job losses related to a changing economy has resulted in a shared feeling among West Virginians of being forgotten.
“There’s a lot of places in the state where there are opportunities, and there’s some brilliant, talented people in West Virginia,” McGinn said. “What people want — and the reason they are so angry — is because they believe there lives are diminished, but the worst part of it all is for their children.”
In a December 21 editorial in The Washington Post, McGinn said politicians from both parties have made promises to improve the economic conditions in the state, yet it has not brought sound economic growth. In addition, the departure of various corporations have left once prosperous towns with such problems as dwindling populations and a drug crisis.
McGinn said on “Talkline” action must be taken by a variety of groups to not only improve the state, but also create economic opportunities.
“The government can’t be the only answer. They’ve got to be a bigger answer than they are now. The state has to be a bigger answer than they are now,” McGinn said. “But endowments, non-profits need to step up and do more. The private sector, the business community has to step up and do more. The academic community can step up and do more. And West Virginians can help themselves more.”
“West Virginia matters. You can’t let one of our fifty states essentially just spiral down.”
McGinn also said one solution is for West Virginia University to partner with institutions across the country to understand how to create a “post-coal economy” for the state.