Mountain State proponents of the THRIVE Act say passage of the legislation in Washington, D.C., could lead to the creation of 50,000 jobs a year in West Virginia.
THRIVE is short for Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy, which is something the state has needed for generations, Ryan Frankenberry said Wednesday.
Frankenberry is executive director of the grassroots West Virginia Working Families Party.
Hours before President Joe Biden was set to unveil his $2.3 trillion plan in Pittsburgh, another set of numbers were being trucked out in Charleston and other West Virginia locales via Zoom for the jobs initiative here that would dovetail with the act.
The initiative, Frankenberry said, could make a $5.2 billion fiscal splash in a state long moored on the shores of a stagnant economy.
An economy, he said, that was built on the long-gone, boom-and-bust years of the fossil fuel industry.
“West Virginia’s economy has been in desperate need of diversification for decades and it means that too many have been forced out in search of better opportunities elsewhere,” he said.
“The THRIVE Act gives us a path towards 50,000 new jobs in infrastructure, agriculture, clean energy, the care economy, and public health. We’re counting on our federal officials to take bold action so that our children see West Virginia as a place they want to stay. ”
Federal officials, as in Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito – Democrat and Republican, respectively – the Mountain State’s senior senators on Capitol Hill.
Congress is expected to take up the proposed $954 billion act when it returns to Washington after spring recess on April 11.
Wednesday’s talk of the act and what it has the potential of doing for West Virginia served as the opening act for a marketing campaign through April 10th, which includes live and virtual “Jammin’ for Jobs” concerts in Martinsburg, Charleston and Morgantown.
Said campaign has a singular goal: To sway the senators.
Frankenberry mapped out the state job initiative tied to passage of the act.
The work was commissioned through the Political Economy Research Institute, which is housed at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
“We’re talking 8,900 jobs in surface transportation,” Frankenberry said.
Or, nearly 9,000 new hires on pothole control, as it were.
“We all know how bad West Virginia’s roads are,” he said.
Then, there are the renewable energy jobs, and the spinoff jobs generated through the 10-year run of the act, he said.
A replay of the presentation is running on the Facebook page of the West Virginia Working Families Party.
Visit newjobswv.org to view the jobs report.
It’s a long time coming, said Alexandra Gallo, a community organizer with the West Virginia Citizen Action Group.
“For far too long, West Virginians have been in survival mode, right?” she said.
“Many folks have worked hard to fuel other parts of our country,” she continued, “and at this stage in the game, we have little to show for it in terms of resources and quality of life.”