CHARLESTON – Senate President Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, Senate Minority Leader Roman Prezioso, D-Marion, Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw, R-Clay, and House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, today issued a joint statement to let West Virginians know the Legislature is working in a bipartisan and cooperative manner to support the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
* * *
As West Virginia, and, indeed, the entire world grapples with the COVID-19 global pandemic, we should take a moment each day to pray for the medical professionals, first responders, and public servants who are working around the clock to halt the spread of this deadly virus. We also must pray for healing for those who are affected, and for the safety of all of us as we navigate this “new normal” in the coming weeks and months. In times of uncertainty or sorrow, it is extremely important that we remain mindful of our many blessings.
The global, national, and state response to this virus has highlighted the vital importance of public health policies and programs. In these trying times, we, the undersigned, want to assure the citizens of West Virginia that your legislative leaders are working in a bipartisan, cooperative manner to support both the public and private response to this critical issue. We have specifically avoided the typical blustering of political figures who seek to utilize a crisis for self-promotion. Rather, we are working together as a united front in a war against this pandemic. Our efforts are directed toward ensuring the wheels of government continue to operate and serve our citizens, questions from constituents are answered, economic recovery is planned, and, most importantly, the health of our citizens is protected.
Together, we want to reassure the public that legislative leadership within West Virginia is committed to taking all necessary measures to achieve victory over this virus. Now, is not the time for political grandstanding or dissention. Your bipartisan legislative team will work together to advise the executive branch on actions related to responding to the virus. Currently, we believe the Executive branch, working with FEMA and public health officials, have the tools and authority to aggressively respond to this constantly evolving crisis. Some folks have called for a special session of the legislature to address this issue. It is our belief that, during this immediate crisis, a special session is not yet necessary, but may be at a future date as the situation related to the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. We believe this is a time to utilize the emergency powers of government, in consultation with legislative leaders, to aggressively attack the problem. As the war against this virus evolves and tactics change, we stand ready to quickly implement any and all necessary legislative responses to this pandemic.
Everyone must prepare for some disruption to our lives at work and at home. We must also remain calm and set an example for our families, friends, and neighbors.
In addition to limiting public interaction, here is a list of common-sense daily measures we all can take in an effort to curb the spread and fight COVID -19:
It would be irresponsible, selfish, and dangerous for anyone to not make a supreme effort to follow these guidelines. Good citizenship as well as ethical, moral behavior demands our best efforts in this cause.
As West Virginians have done throughout history, in the midst of this global health dilemma, let us continue to support and help our neighbors in need. We may have occasional differences along the route, but we are always united in our common goal of health, prosperity, and opportunity for all.
Mitch Carmichael, Senate President
Roger Hanshaw, Speaker of House of Delegates
Roman Prezioso, Senate Minority Leader
Tim Miley, Minority Leader of House of Delegates