CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – On this week’s episode of Inside West Virginia Politics, our guests join host Mark Curtis to talk about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the anticipated vaccines awaiting approval from the FDA and the need in West Virginia for a second stimulus package.

Maj. Gen. James Hoyer retires as Adjutant General for a new role

In Segment 1, West Virginia National Guard Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, an integral part of the governor’s COVID-19 response team, talks about retiring from his position as Adjutant General, West Virginia Joint Forces Headquarters-West Virginia to becoming a senior associate vice president at WVU. He says he wants to continue helping the Mountain State through the pandemic in COVID-19 response and vaccine distribution as well as other projects across the state.

IWVP: Mountain State sees an uptick in COVID-19 cases

In Segment 2, West Virginia COVID-19 Czar Dr. Clay Marsh talks about why COVID-19 numbers are on an uptick in the Mountain State and across the country. Marsh says one factor is health officials believe people are beginning to let their guards down around family and friends as a large number of recent cases are through community spread.

Marsh says this holiday season is best to keep just with those in your household or through Zoom, Skype or other virtual platforms, saying “Wish others well, but don’t wish them well in person.”

The COVD-19 Czar also talks about COVID-19 aid packages and why support from the federal government is important in offering free testing, providing contact tracing and soon-to-be vaccine distribution.

IWVP: How a second stimulus package would help West Virginians

In Segment 3, Seth DiStefano with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy talks about the necessity of another CARES Act package. He says many of the provisions in the first package, such as the $600 per week boost to unemployment benefits were essential to keeping West Virginians afloat and keeping the state’s economy from crashing. However, DiStefano says much of those provisions have already run out or will soon run out.

IWVP: Previewing the upcoming state’s legislative session

In Segment 4, we switch gears from pandemic to politics with former West Virginia Delegate Dr. Chris Stansbury to talk about Republican Party’s numerous wins in the state legislature during the 2020 General Election. Dr. Stansbury analyzes why he thinks the party had such a large success in the election, saying the party’s views are more in line with West Virginians’ values.

Stansbury also gives a preview of the upcoming legislative session. He says some issues include more dollars for the state’s roads – a point of contention for many West Virginians, possible raises for state employees, and making healthcare more accessible and affordable.