Congress, Energy, Healthcare

Capito makes stops at WVU Medicine, Longview Power during Morgantown visit

MORGANTOWN – Sen. Shelley Moore Capito made a series of stops in Morgantown on Thursday, visiting WVU Medicine facilities and Longview Power, and celebrating a milestone with broadband provider Breezeline.

Capito talks with Dr. Ali Rezai and Rockerfeller Neurosciences Institute

Capito started the day at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital, where she met with members of the leadership and staff, and toured the facility.

“Having the best available health care options is incredibly important for West Virginians, especially our children,” Capito said. “The doctors, nurses, and entire staff at WVU Children’s Hospital are working hard every day to deliver the best care possible for the kids who need it, and that was evident during today’s visit.”

Michael A. Grace, president of WVU Hospitals, said, “We welcome and appreciate Sen. Shelley Moore Capito’s visit. … WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital is the collective effort of thousands, including an army of generous donors who helped breathe life into the dream.”

Captio at the Breezeline event.

Capito then participated in an event with Breezeline, the nation’s eighth-largest cable provider, to announce that the cable operator will expand access to fast fiber internet in West Virginia through the construction of a 500-mile, fiber-rich network that will reach more than 40,000 homes and businesses in Monongalia County. Since the project began last year, Breezeline has invested more than $40 million in the construction and activation of its network and has tripled its workforce as it has expanded its operations in the region.

Capito said, “In the ever-evolving global economy, our ability to compete depends on bringing affordable, high-speed internet access to homes, businesses, and classrooms in West Virginia. Breezeline’s investment here gives our communities access to the best that technology has to offer while providing more choice to consumers.”

Capito at Longivew Power.

The milestone was celebrated at the “Connecting West Virginia” event held at the Morgantown Marriott at Waterfront Place. “We’ve made tremendous progress in our efforts to bring advanced fiber technology to West Virginia,” said Frank van der Post, Breezeline president. “We’ve extended our fiber facilities to 25,000 new homes and businesses already, and expect to add an additional 17,000 serviceable homes and businesses over the next 12 months.”

Breezeline has completed the construction and activation of its services in Brookhaven, Cheat Lake and Morgantown and will next extend its facilities into Westover, Star City and Granville.

Next, at Longview Power in Maidsville, Capito participated in a roundtable discussion with the company’s leadership team to learn more about their energy needs and projects for the future.

“As an energy-producing state, I am always happy to discuss how West Virginia can partner with our energy producers to be more efficient and invest in the future,” Capito said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what Longview Power does to provide reliable, affordable energy for our state and our country.”

Steve Nelson, CEO of Longview Power, said, “We want to thank Sen. Capito for coming to Longview again to discuss both the challenges and opportunities of the future. She has been one of our strongest supporters over the last two decades and we look forward to continuing to work with her on the years to come.”

At the end of the day, Capito visited WVU Medicine’s Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute, where she met with Director Dr. Ali Rezai to discuss WVU’s efforts and leadership in treating Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and addiction.

More than two dozen federal, state, and local elected officials and community leaders attended the Breezeline event. Robbie Morris, chairman of the West Virginia Broadband Enhancement Council, said, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, infrastructure that was already struggling to keep up with the demands of customers became stressed like never before when school, medical appointments, and daily trips to the office were all forced to occur online. Fortunately, many positive steps are underway, including the Breezeline fiber initiative, as well as private-public partnerships, to boost capacity and to help close the digital divide in West Virginia.”