CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK)—West Virginia Governor Jim Justice responded on Thursday to a request for a special legislative session made by the mayor of Charleston, Amy Shuler Goodwin. On Wednesday, Goodwin sent a letter to Governor Justice, West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair and Speaker of the House Roger Hanshaw citing several concerns about addressing homelessness and mental health issues in the state.
Governor Justice appeared frustrated with Goodwin’s request during Thursday’s COVID-19 press briefing.
“Make no mistake of what this is really about. It’s nothing but a political move to cover up her deficiencies, and if we’ll just stop, sit back and think about this: According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness in West Virginia—and we all want to do better, we all want to do better—West Virginia’s overall homelessness rate is decreasing except—just maybe—except in her hometown. In her town she’s supposed to be running.”
The governor then went on to point out what he felt were shortcomings by Goodwin in the city of Charleston: “I mean for God’s sake’s a-livin’, if Amy Goodwin wants to do something, why doesn’t she do something in Charleston? Why are we having to walk down the streets and see tragedy all over the place with people, homeless people, sitting on the sidewalks all over the place, needles everywhere, even in our playgrounds? I mean, why should we be doing that?
Governor Justice then went on to say that the city of Charleston has $57 million of CARES money and questioned what Mayor Goodwin was spending the money on. He then claimed that half of Mayor Goodwin’s plan would be to replicate the “Charleston model” across the rest of the state, saying, “Why on Earth would we want to do that?”
Justice did concede that he was open to calling a special session if the West Virginia legislature agreed to go along with it.
“Amy baby, listen, if you can get the legislature to go along with a special session to discuss these bills, I’ll absolutely do it.”
The governor ended that segment of his press conference by saying, “If she really wants to fix things, the first thing she ought to do is call a special session of her own City Council to clean up West Virginia.”