CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Amy Shuler Goodwin, the former West Virginia tourism commissioner and deputy secretary of commerce, announced her candidacy for mayor Thursday, claiming she wants to put Charleston on the map, create a better future for children and spur economic development.
“I have incredible passion and I know what we need to do to not only market Charleston, West Virginia, on a statewide level, but on a national level,” the Democrat told a crowd at Charleston’s East End Community Park.
About a dozen children sporting “Goodwin for Charleston” signs joined the candidate and her husband Booth Goodwin, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia. He ran against Gov. Jim Justice in the May 2016 primary.
“Much as what I said in my campaign — we want them to have the opportunity to stay here and we want them to want to stay here,” Booth Goodwin said of why his wife brought kids to the big announcement. “She saw that time is running out.”
Goodwin announced her run nearly 14 months before the May 2018 primary.
“You need a little bit of time to get out and talk with people and really build a true community coalition, and that’s exactly what she wants to do,” he said.
Promoting tourism isn’t the only platform Goodwin said she wants to focus on.
“We boast about being the best outdoor state in the country, but we don’t make our communities bikeable and walkable,” she said. “We don’t connect them. It’s not just a tourism thing, by the way, that’s a health and community thing. That’s our way out of poverty for many families.”
It’s also time to start using the Kanawha and Elk Rivers, she said.
“We’re a river city. We don’t use our river. We don’t have kayak ramps. We don’t have restaurants on the river. It has to be utilized. People want to be on the water,” Goodwin said.
Booth Goodwin told the crowd on Thursday his wife is a “protector” and knows she can get the job done.
“She is an advocate when she can be and she’s a fighter when she must be,” he said. “She will go through great lengths to protect the people in her charge and the people that she loves.”
Goodwin formerly worked as the communications director for both Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and Gov. Bob Wise. She also served as chief spokesperson for a presidential candidate, a congressman and mayor of Charleston. Goodwin was also a news anchor and reporter for WCHS-TV in Charleston and WTRF-TV in Wheeling.
The term of Charleston Mayor Danny Jones runs through January 2019.