Hoppy’s Commentary Archives

FridayNovember 4, 2022

West Virginia’s Clean Elections

  A friend of mine who is originally from West Virginia, but now lives in Virginia, just early-voted there. It was a much different experience. He was met by both Republican and Democratic representatives as he approached the polling place who wanted to give him information. He described a “sea of signs” just outside the

ThursdayNovember 3, 2022

Money, Money, Money

The surplus money just keeps piling up in West Virginia’s treasury. The just-released revenue figures for the first four months of the 2023 fiscal year show the state has collected $575 million more than estimates. Add in the $460 million carryover from last fiscal year and West Virginia has a surplus of over $1 billion!

WednesdayNovember 2, 2022

Biden Dredges Up Windfall Tax Threat

With the election just days away, President Biden has scraped the bottom of the political rhetoric barrel to try to generate enthusiasm among Democratic voters. He wants Congress to bring back the windfall profits tax on oil companies. “Their profits are the windfall of war,” he said Monday at the White House. “At a time

TuesdayNovember 1, 2022

Public Education’s Inflection Point

The results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) student tests released last week were bad news for West Virginia. The math and reading outcomes for fourth and eighth graders were the lowest ever, and next to the bottom nationally. There was no way for education or political leaders to spin the results to

MondayOctober 31, 2022

Babydog is Having a Moment

Do pets belong in politics? Gov. Jim Justice seems to think so as he barnstorms around West Virginia with his bulldog, battling against a constitutional amendment affecting personal property taxes. The governor has hit at least 25 communities around the state to try to win friends and influence people. His constant ally has been Man’s

FridayOctober 28, 2022

Where’s the Love?

Political commentator Chris Stirewalt likes to say, “I think if you love America, you have to love Americans.” It sounds so simple.  People of all political, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds love this country. They typically have widely different views about what the country’s policies and practices should be, but at the heart of it all

ThursdayOctober 27, 2022

“They Suck”

West Virginia State School Board President Paul Hardesty, during an interview on Talkline, was blunt in his assessment of the just-released National Assessment of Educational Progress test results for our state. “They suck,” he said. “I mean, they’re dismal. They’re not good… the worst in the history of the state.” Others may choose less graphic

WednesdayOctober 26, 2022

Voting is Underway

It is Election Day in West Virginia! Okay, it isn’t the Election Day, but in-person early voting starts today.  If history is any indicator, a large percentage of West Virginians will take advantage of the opportunity. In the 2018 off-year election, 176,359 votes were cast early and in-person. That represented 30 percent of all the

TuesdayOctober 25, 2022

Failing Grades in Reading and Math

There is plenty of research demonstrating the importance of reading skills for students by the fourth grade. Students learn the building blocks of reading in grades one through three, but by the fourth grade they begin using those reading skills to learn other subjects. According to Reading Partners, a children’s literacy nonprofit, “Studies have shown

MondayOctober 24, 2022

Monday Morning Musings

Cabell flips: One of the last remaining large Democratic counties in West Virginia is now red, but not by much. The most recent voter registration figures from Secretary of State Mac Warner’s Office show Cabell County with 20,866 Republicans and 20,536 Democrats (and 12,031 no party).  Just six years ago, there were 7,700 more Democrats

FridayOctober 21, 2022

The WV Democrats’ ‘Non-existent’ Chances in November

I called a long-time Democratic friend of mine to get his take on the upcoming election. He gave me his insights, but he wanted to remain anonymous so he could be brutally frank and not be treated as a pariah by fellow West Virginia Democrats. I asked for a rating of Democrat Lacy Watson’s chances

WednesdayOctober 19, 2022

Maryland’s High Times Ahead

Neighboring Maryland is on the verge of legalizing recreational marijuana. Question 4 on the Maryland ballot asks voters, “Do you favor the legalization of the use of cannabis by an individual who is at least 21 years of age on or after July 1, 2023, in the state of Maryland?” A recent poll by the

Jim ‘The Greatest’ Justice

Governor Justice continues to travel the state campaigning against Amendment Two.  During several recent stops, Justice’s monologue segued into observations about how he has conducted his job over the last six years. At Point Pleasant last Friday, he said, “and at the end of the day, if you were really fair, you’re probably going to

TuesdayOctober 18, 2022

West Virginia’s Economic Highs and Lows

The WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research has released its economic outlook for the state. As is often the case, there is good, bad and ugly. The good news is that West Virginia’s economy has regained all the ground lost during the worst of Covid. “We suffered through the fastest economic collapse in modern

MondayOctober 17, 2022

Jan. 6 Committee Doesn’t Move the Needle on Trump

The January 6th Committee held what is expected to be its final hearing into the events that contributed to the insurrection at the United States Capitol. There were some intriguing tidbits: Trump privately admitting he lost the election. More details about the Secret Service’s advance warnings of trouble. The contrast between Congressional leaders trying to

ThursdayOctober 13, 2022

America’s Energy Fail

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Israel and Lebanon have reached an agreement that will allow for Israel to drill for natural gas in a disputed area and export gas to Europe. “The agreement would allow Israel to quickly follow through on its commitment to sell gas to the European Union, which is

WednesdayOctober 12, 2022

Joe Manchin’s ‘Safe Space’

Senator Joe Manchin’s roller coaster poll numbers have taken another dip.  Morning Consult reports this week that the West Virginia Democrat is now underwater, with a disapproval rating of 51 percent and an approval rating of just 42 percent. Manchin’s brief popularity among a majority of Republican voters has dissipated.  His approval rating with the

TuesdayOctober 11, 2022

Teacher, Staff Shortage Worsens in WV, Across the Country

The state Department of Education will release figures later this fall on teacher vacancies in West Virginia. The department reported 1,196 vacancies last school year and Dr. Carla Warren, Director of Education Development and Support, warned during an appearance on Talkline recently that the number this year will be even greater. “We’re still dealing with

MondayOctober 10, 2022

Justice Promises Pay Raise

Governor Jim Justice says he will propose a five percent pay raise for school teachers and public employees when the legislature meets early next year. The Gazette-Mail’s Ryan Quinn reported Justice initially made the promise during a meeting with county school superintendents while discussing his opposition to Amendment Two, and then confirmed those comments later

FridayOctober 7, 2022

Prices are Going Up, and Wages Can’t Keep Up

Not this again. The decision by OPEC and its oil-exporting allies to reduce oil production by two-million barrels a day is expected to cause gasoline prices to rise. They had been trending down toward $3 a gallon, but GasBuddy.com’s Patrick De Haan says now prices could increase as much as 30-cents a gallon. That is