Lewis County delegate backs border wall bill

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — One of the three West Virginia lawmakers that announced plans to introduce a bill in front of the West Virginia House of Delegates to pull funds from the state’s current budget surplus to help fund President Donald Trump’s border wall is backing the proposed legislation.

Patrick Martin

Delegate Patrick Martin, R-Lewis, is working with delegates Carl “Robbie” Martin, R-Upshur, and Caleb Hanna, R-Webster, on a draft of a bill that would set aside $10 million from the state’s current nearly $200 million surplus for the wall. Martin appeared on Wednesday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ and stood by the bill.

“I’m standing by the statement that the wall will help our drug problem in West Virginia,” Martin said. “If we can stop the small percentage of it then it will come back to us in tenfold.

“We just believe in talking with to a lot of our local law enforcement and state law enforcement that they believe a lot of these drugs right now in West Virginia are coming in through Mexico.”

The delegates said one of the most pressing issues facing West Virginia right now is the rampant drug problem – a problem fueled in large part by the trafficking of highly potent, illicit drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border, per release.

Martin was asked by ‘Talkline’ host Hoppy Kercheval why not spend that $10 million inside West Virginia to help combat the drug issue.

“The drugs that are coming in from Mexico are very pure,” he said. “There’s no doubt that we need to look at treatment for current people on drugs and educate the children that are in our schools. I’m not denying that at all.

“I think we all can agree there is a drug problem just on how do we be successful in stopping those drugs coming into West Virginia. that is very important.”

Wednesday marks day 26 of the partial government shutdown with not a clear end in sight as the shutdown is over Trump’s request for funding of a southern border wall.

Martin was hopeful this proposed bill would spark the conversation among others to fund the wall, thus ending the shutdown.

“When you have a bill introduced, there is a lot of longshot ideas in West Virginia but this starts the discussion,” he said. “Our federal government has been shut down. We are hoping other states will join in and hopefully put some funds towards the border wall and we can get this discussion of getting our government back open again.

Martin was also critical about the actions of some in the U.S. Congress.

“Up in Clarksburg and areas we have a lot of federal employees,” he said. “This is very important to get our government back to work since we feel that a lot of our congressmen are just sitting on their hands, not doing anything and not open to the discussion.

“Whether it is $10 million, $5 million or $15 million, it is starting this discussion. I think this is what we lack a lot in West Virginia, is having this discussion.”

The delegates said the bill is currently in its draft stage but they expect to formally introduce it in the Legislature in the coming days.

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