Major news outlets report that supporting Rockwool is a losing idea for candidates in Jefferson County. See below for a round up of quotes and links from this week’s election headlines.
“‘I had been hearing that there was a lot of energy and intensity in the Eastern Panhandle — primarily Jefferson County — for a variety of different reasons,’ Miley, D-Harrison, said. ‘The elephant in the room over there is that Rockwool plant. I’ve been told that there’s never been a single issue that’s been so divisive, but which the majority of people are on one side. In other words, there’s a huge number of people over there upset over the plant and what it brings with it.’” — Jake Jarvis, ”A Closer Look at This Week’s Elections,” The State Journal, 11/8/18.
“In an election that thrust Rockwool into the spotlight, Jefferson County ultimately voted for candidates who oppose building the manufacturing plant. Five of six candidates voted into state and local seats had publicly opposed Rockwool, the coal- and gas-fired manufacturing plant being built in the Eastern Panhandle town of Ranson. ‘One word,” John Doyle, who won a seat in the House of Delegates, said of his victory. “Three guesses, and the first two don’t count: Rockwool.’” Katie Mishkin, “Jefferson County Elects Candidates Who Opposed Manufacturing Plant,” Charleston Gazette-Mail, 11/7/18.
“The Rockwool controversy may have played a role in the ouster of incumbent 67th District Representative Riley Moore who was set to be named majority leader in the new legislature. He was defeated by John Doyle by less than 900 votes. Doyle came out strongly against Rockwool…In the 65th, Incumbent Jill Upson was defeated by Democrat Sammi Brown. While on the campaign trail, Upson said most of the decisions that brought Rockwool to the county were out of the hands of lawmakers. Brown was vocally opposed to the plant and made it part of her campaign platform…Incumbent 16th District Senator John Unger was among those counted as anti-Rockwool…In that race, Unger defeated Folk by a margin of 54 to 46 percent in Jefferson County…It’s possible Rockwool may have affected the race for U.S. Senate in the Panhandle. During the debate between Morrisey and Manchin hosted by the West Virginia Broadcasters Association and in the days leading up to the election, both were asked to weigh in on Rockwool. Manchin, who had attended the ground breaking for the plant, said he has since been made aware of the community’s concerns and wants to examine the process that brought the plant to Jefferson County and ensure diligent oversight by the DEP. For his part, Morrisey said up to and including Election Day that he was still looking into the issue and didn’t want to weigh in until he had all the facts. On election night, while Morrisey carried Berkeley County over Manchin by a ten percent margin, it was a different story in Jefferson County, where Morrisey makes his home. There, Manchin beat Morrisey by a 51 to 45 percent margin.” —“Controversy Over Rockwool Plant Rocks The Election,” Mike McCullough, WVMetro News, 11/7/17
THE RESULT THE DAY AFTER THE ELECTION…?
“The Jefferson County Development Authority board canceled Wednesday’s meeting on the $7 million public bond to fund a water line to Rockwool’s facility. A few hours before the scheduled meeting, which was slated to begin at 1 p.m., JCDA staff posted an announcement to its Twitter and Facebook accounts. ‘There is clearly considerable disagreement as to what constitutes positive economic development,’ the statement read. ‘Citizens should be able to voice their concerns and appointed boards should consider those concerns.” Megan Hughart, “JCDA Delays Voting On Water Bond,” The Journal, 11/9/18.