BECKLEY, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito visited Beckley Tuesday to meet with Mayor Rob Rappold and other community leaders.

Topics of the meeting included southern West Virginia’s economy, the drug epidemic and the impact WVU Tech’s arrival to Beckley last year has had on the community.

“She’s very outgoing, very personable and our folks here at city hall were glad to chat with her for a few minutes,” said Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold. “It was a very meaningful and much appreciated update on things from Washington (DC) and the various committees that the senator serves on.”

 

Others in attendance for Tuesday’s meeting included Beckley Police Chief Lonnie Christian and representatives from the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce.

Capito complimented Mayor Rappold on the partnership the city has formed with WVU Tech, who moved their campus to Beckley last year.

“The Mayor has been very involved in terms of integrating WVU Tech into Beckley and anticipating growth there, more students and more services.”

Capito added she feels the economic outlook for southern West Virginia looks strong.

“I think that things are looking bright here. I mean it’s tough, it’s tough for every small town but the region is picking up economically and that’s the good news.”

Following the meeting, Capito went to WVU Tech’s Campus to serve as featured speaker for the 2018 graduating class of the Raleigh County Health Sciences Technology Academy (HSTA). Established in 1994, HSTA has helped over 2,500 graduates of the program explore options and pay for college within West Virginia.

The program is meant for students who are from low-income, first-generation, rural or a minority background who intend to enter STEM fields.

“It mentors people, you have teachers that help take away the stigma or the fear factor of going on to school,” said Capito. “Concentrating on the health, science and technology areas where we have shortages and those are the jobs of tomorrow.”

30 students graduated from the Raleigh County HSTA Tuesday evening.

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