Energy companies weigh in on Red-Hot WV Republican primary
The West Virginia primary on May 10 could indicate where the Republican Party will head economically and politically. The 2nd Congressional District pits two incumbents — a traditional conservative who was a former state GOP chairman against a Trump firebrand.
The state needs a skilled workforce and modern highways and roads to recruit skilled manufacturing companies – the kind of investment foreseen by the new infrastructure law. The state must obtain federal seed capital to prosper and reduce its dependence on public programs. Yet this law, which helped attract two major companies to the state, is a focal point of this race for Congress.
Representative David McKinley is a 7th generation West Virginian who voted for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. The electrical engineer is running against Representative Alex Mooney, a career politician. He moved from Maryland to West Virginia in 2014 – just as a congressional seat opened up. Mooney voted against the Infrastructure Act to appease Donald Trump. But this runs counter to the needs of all energy companies, which depend on expanding and upgrading infrastructure.
West Virginia desperately needs new roads, bridges and broadband, similar to the infrastructure championed by its former senator, Robert C. Byrd. Indeed, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave West Virginia a “D” on its report card, saying that “much of the state’s infrastructure built over the past 70 years has deteriorated, while construction, replacement, rehabilitation and repair efforts have not been sustained. at the pace of need. »
Compare this analysis to a report recently released by SmartAsset that found West Virginia receives 2.36 times more federal government revenue than its residents pay in income taxes. The state derives more than 45% of its revenue from federal sources. But it is essential to analyze the differences between money spent on human sustenance and infrastructure: if people want to become financially independent, they must have economically viable opportunities.
McKinley has the support of most state business and political leaders. To that end, oil, natural gas and coal industry leaders support him, noting that he is accessible and responsive to their concerns. An E&E story said they gave McKinley $190,000 and Mooney $5,600, though Mooney rakes in a ton of dough from out-of-state hardcore interest groups.
The engineer versus the opportunist
ExxonMobil Corp., Williams Cos. and Quintana Resources back McKinley. Just like Senator Joe Manchin and Governor Jim Justice. And almost every newspaper in the district endorsed it, as well as the state chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.
“The Infrastructure Act provides an engine for strong economic growth,” said Rebecca McPhail, president of the State Manufacturers Group. “It’s hard to run a manufacturing plant when the roads, bridges or broadband are inadequate. These projects will have a lasting effect. Mooney must review the data and learn about West Virginia’s needs. His positions come across as political — not ones that are in the best interest of our state. »
The new infrastructure law has helped West Virginia attract major investment: Nucor Corp.’s $2.7 billion steel mill. will be completed by 2024 and will initially employ 800 people. It will rely heavily on green energy to power its facility. A regional “hydrogen hub” could also come to the state, which would get about $8 billion from the Infrastructure Act of 2021.
Additionally, an energy startup named SPAR
To take advantage of these businesses, everyone had to be on board. That includes federal lawmakers rowing alongside those in the state capitol. Implicit in this collective effort is the understanding that the future of the state depends on investments in the new energy economy – things like solar panels, wind turbines and battery-powered devices.
But one person was missing: Mooney, who called the efforts “part of the Democrats’ liberal agenda,” adding that the state should resuscitate its coal industry. He then criticized the money being spent on building electric vehicle charging stations – things that could benefit coal. Mooney maintains that he is more interested than his opponent in protecting the pocketbook from the public. It’s an odd call because he faces two ethical claims for spending $40,000 in campaign money on food, taking family vacations and sending office staff on personal errands.
The bottom line is that Mooney is a political hack that degrades public discourse. Maryland fired him in defeat, and now he’s heading to West Virginia.
McKinley’s conscience guides his actions in Congress. He wants to see West Virginia lifted — to retain businesses today and attract businesses of tomorrow. As a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he co-drafted bipartisan legislation to encourage investment in clean technology and carbon capture and storage. It’s not about reciting slogans. It’s about creating jobs.
Because Donald Trump couldn’t pass an infrastructure improvement law, “he didn’t want it to pass under any subsequent administration,” McKinley told West Virginia’s Metro News. “Frankly, at the end of the day, it’s West Virginia. I waited 11 years to vote on an infrastructure bill. I’m not going to play politics with this.
At last look, McKinley had a 5 point advantage over Mooney. The outcome will speak volumes about the direction of the National Republican Party and whether civil political discourse has a future in American politics. If McKinley wins, it will be a win for West Virginia — a state that needs federal investments and vital infrastructure to free itself from taxpayer dependence.
More from this author:
– Can West Virginia outrun coal?
— Coal, Carpetbaggers and Congressional Candidates
– Work got soft at WV
– Why West Virginia’s floods are the result of climate change
– ‘Welfare Leeches’ and candidate for Congress from West Virginia
— West Virginia is bleeding but state lawmakers won’t debate
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— Can America afford to ignore climate change?