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Gov. Justice appoints Anitra Hamilton to Mon County 81st House seat; unveils new Almost Heaven driver’s license

MORGANTOWN — Gov. Jim Justice announced on Wednesday a new delegate to represent Monongalia County’s 81st District, and unveiled a new Almost Heaven state driver’s license.

From a list of three nominees submitted to Justice on Tuesday by the Monongalia County Democratic Executive Committee, Justice chose and appointed Anitra Hamilton, he said during his administration update briefing.

Each candidate submitted biographical information to the committee, which chair Mindy Salango provided to The Dominion Post.

Hamilton is a native West Virginian who grew up in McDowell County and earned degrees in psychology, biology and nursing from WVU. She works in orthopedics clinical nursing services and is president of the Morgantown-Kingwood Branch of the NAACP.

She is also the vice chair of the WVU Office of the Provost Council of Gender Equity, chair of the Women of Color Committee, and advisor to the student organization 100 Black Women at WVU, and is liaison to the WVU collegiate branch of the NAACP.

She chairs the annual Pretty 5K Virtual Run/Walk, which has raised more than $12,000 and recently awarded 15 scholarships to WVU students. She has assisted with the implementation of the Morgantown Civilian Police Review and Advisory Board with the NAACP.

“I truly believe everything rises and falls on leadership,” she told the committee. “I want to take a more active role within the Democratic Party and ensure that the leadership of our party remains effective within our state, among all demographics and populations.”

Former Delegate Danielle Walker vacated the seat to become executive director of the ACLU-West Virginia.

The other two candidates were Pastor Emily Harden and Marly Ynigues.

Harden is a Wheeling native, a pastor in the Presbyterian Church USA denomination and a healthcare chaplain. She has lived in Morgantown with her two children since 2018. Harden is co-founder of West Virginia Faith Leaders for Choice, which advocates for abortion rights. She is also a board member and youth coordinator for Morgantown Pride.

Ynigues was a Morgantown City Council candidate, losing Tuesday to Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble in the 5th Ward. She returned to Morgantown in 2019 and is a founding member of Morgantown RAMP, a grassroots group dedicated to filling gaps in shelter infrastructure. She co-founded the WV Women Vote Coalition and is the former Social Justice chair of the local League of Women Voters.

Salango said Tuesday after the names were submitted, “I am thrilled at the enthusiasm of the many Democrats who reached out to help fill this seat. … This was a unique moment in our county, and the community stepped up to meet the need. … The future is bright for Democrats in Mon County and West Virginia.”

New driver’s license

Justice called on Tourism Secretary Chelsea Ruby to unveil the license, which features the New River Gorge Bridge and the New River on the front, and mountains and the Almost Heaven logo on the back.

Ruby noted that the Almost Heaven brand, introduced in 2018, can now be seen on all tourism advertising, welcome centers, signage, turnpike booths and throughout the state parks system.

She quoted Justice’s often-heard proud frogs in the pond metaphor and said, “And today all frogs in West Virginia can go out and get a driver’s license that shows that new Almost Heaven branding.”

In a subsequent release, Justice said starting this week, all West Virginians may apply for a duplicate license or ID card with the new design before their renewal period by visiting the DMV website at or at any of the 25 regional DMV offices across the state.

DMV Commissioner Everett Frazier commented, “Our DMV is leading the nation when it comes to the issuance and security of our state driver’s licenses and ID cards. This new credential contains state-of-the-art security features to reduce fraud and identity theft. We encourage West Virginians to consider upgrading to a REAL ID license or ID card and take advantage of not only the beautiful background featuring our New River Gorge Bridge, but also the newest and best in security for credentials.”

TWEET David Beard @dbeardtdp