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Eastern Panhandle's Influence in Charleston Grows

Perry Bennett
WV Legislative Photography

Eastern Panhandle lawmakers met at an annual Legislative Breakfast Friday to discuss their top priorities for the 2017 Legislative session. Senators and delegates touched on a variety of issues, but what’s clear is the region’s growing influence at the statehouse.

Since the GOP won the majority in both chambers of the state Legislature two years ago, many Eastern Panhandle Republicans have been appointed to influential posts within their respective chambers.

To name just a few, Senator Charlie Trump of Morgan County chairs Senate Judiciary; Delegate Paul Espinosa of Jefferson County chairs House Education, and Delegate Daryl Cowles of Morgan County is the House Majority Leader. Cowles says having Eastern Panhandle representatives in key positions means the regions voice will be heard at the Capitol.

“It’s roles like that, those pivotal roles that make the difference that have our voice heard in Charleston and have issues of Charleston brought back home,” Cowles said.

The Eastern Panhandle is one of the most rapidly growing regions in West Virginia - a state that’s losing population overall. In the past, lawmakers from the area have criticized legislative leaders for ignoring the needs of the growing communities.

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