CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The Harrison County Republican Executive Committee of West Virginia passed a resolution Monday expressing no confidence in Gov. Jim Justice.
The matter was taken up during the committee’s monthly meeting, when members criticized the Governor’s ability and willingness to represent its legislators and the state.
“Because the West Virginia Republican Platform was truly created by a state wide grassroots effort, we will hold our elected Republicans accountable for supporting the will of the citizens of West Virginia as expressed in the West Virginia Republican Platform,” said Diana Bartley, Chair of the Harrison County Republican Executive Committee. “This resolution is clear that confidence can be restored by actions that support our grassroots West Virginia Republican Party Platform between now and 2020.”
The Republican Executive Committee in Kanawha County passed a similar resolution last week, and the Fayette County GOP Executive Committee discussed the issue last night but did not take a vote.
The Mineral County GOP Executive Committee voted last week in favor of a “confidence” resolution on Justice.
Former Berkeley County delegate and longtime West Virginia Republican Party Platform Committee Chairman John Overington said the platform planks are important.
“They are the essential components that motivate members of the party and cause many of them to run for office,” Overington said during a Tuesday appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”
According to the Harrison County resolution, Justice’s opposition to comprehensive education reform is in contradiction to the West Virginia Republican Party Platform.
“We support an academic, disciplined system of education that restores decision-making authority over public school policies and finances to parents, locally elected school boards and taxpayers, thus relieving and eliminating layers of bureaucracy which obstruct true education,” the resolution says. “State education dollars should be redirected from a top heavy bureaucracy to teachers and students where they are needed most. Neighborhood schools should be maintained whenever possible and practical. Education is a constitutionally provided function of state and local government.”
Overington said he believes the resolutions are more about disappointment than confidence.
“They don’t express a lack of confidence as much as they do as the lack of the governor’s support for those key components,” Overington said.
Overington sent Justice a copy of the GOP platform not long after Justice switched parties in 2017. He said Justice has supported some parts of the platform but hasn’t come around on others. Overington said there’s still time.
“This is an evolving process and I hope the governor is going to get on board so that we can all be unified among the different components in our platform including school choice,” Overington said.
State Senate President Mitch Carmichael, also a guest on “Talkline” Tuesday said it would be inaccurate to say the resolutions represent a silent minority.
“I don’t think it’s just a few discontents by any means,” Carmichael said. “I think anyone in these party apparatus has the greater good in moving West Virginia forward and we believe we need education reform to move our state forward.”
Carmichael said the Kanawha and Harrison GOP “no confidence” votes send a message to the governor.
“These people see someone who is not really promoting education reform and they are expressing that through these resolutions,” Carmichael said.
Chair of the GOP Platform Committee, John Overington, joins @HoppyKercheval to discuss what he considers the key planks of the grassroots Republican platform. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIAoe1 pic.twitter.com/Z9S3xtrzgc
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) April 9, 2019
The remainder of the Harrison County GOP resolution:
School choice and broad education reforms — both of which Justice publicly opposes — are expressly stated as part of the West Virginia Republican Party Platform.
Additionally, the resolution states paycheck protection and right to work legislation are expressly stated as part of the party platform, but the governor does not support either.
“Governor James Justice has retained many of the previous Democratic Administration holdovers, in addition to naming still more Democrats to judgeships and key administrative positions,” the resolution states. “Confidence can be restored by actions in support of our grassroots West Virginia Republican Party Platform between now and the 2020 elections.”
Jeff Jenkins contributed to this story.