CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — The visit of any first lady or president can certainly have a political and policy advantage to a state.
The fact that First Lady Jill Biden and Charleston-born actress Jennifer Garner watched West Virginia teenagers get their COVID-19 vaccinations is a powerful image that can be communicated to the president. Even Republican leaders say that’s valuable.
“Yes, absolutely. I think any help we get, the children of West Virginia and the health care of West Virginia is a non-partisan issue. I’ve said that from the very beginning and still believe that. And I think that’s great that they are coming,” said State Sen. Tom Takubo, M.D., (R) Kanawha – Majority Leader.
A case in point was former First Lady Melania Trump’s visit to “Lily’s Place” in Huntington a few years ago. It brought national attention to the problem of babies going through withdrawal, after being born to substance users. When President Trump signed the multi-billion dollar Opioid Bill into law, it included millions to treat babies with neonatal abstinence syndrome.
The point is, First Ladies are often influential presidential advisors. And yes, Dr. Biden will likely see road problems here at a time when the president is backing a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.
“I think she will see potholes if she’s on any of our roads. So, yes, I think infrastructure is really needed, and I really think that includes the CARE economy as well. I know that the First Lady and Jennifer Garner care a lot about children. And making CARE part of the infrastructure package is vital,” said Del. Kayla Young, (D) Kanawha.
Since First Lady Biden is a full-time professor, seeing a high school up-close could also help shape education policy.
“Even though she was only here a few hours, it sends a signal that she, and by extension, the President, are interested in what’s going on, and what’s needed in West Virginia,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.