West Virginia governor

Justice keeps open possibility of coaching basketball as a U.S. senator

MORGANTOWN – Gov. Jim Justice is keeping open the idea of continuing his basketball coaching if he’s elected to the U.S. Senate.

Fielding a question from MetroNews during his Tuesday briefing, he said, “I guess we’ll see, won’t we?”

He said he’ll have to see what the time demands are. “I do have the ability to go and come and go very quickly.”

He said people didn’t think he could manage it while serving as governor, and touted his time in office. “The successes are miles and miles long.” He drives himself back and forth between his Lewisburg home and the Capitol, and doesn’t take vacations.

“I gain an awful lot being with those kids,” he said, and he’s not ready to throw in the towel. “We’ll see, we’ll see.”

Justice also fielded a question about state employee pay raises. He’s proposed another 5% raise, mostly to help cover the PEIA rate hikes, and the question was whether he’ll propose more.

He didn’t commit to anything above 5%. “There are still lots of balls in the air as far as the budget and everything,” he said. The Legislature has already passed four raises and this will be the fifth. Health insurance is just one of the items hit by inflation.

For right now, it’s 5 %, and “that’s not a bad deal either.”

The city of Morgantown is among a number of local governments and entities that will receive a share of $1,286,667 in Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program funds.

The funds will be used to assist state agencies, local units of government and private nonprofit agencies in carrying out specific programs that offer a high probability of improving the functioning of the criminal justice system, Justice said in a follow-up news release about the program.

Special emphasis was placed on multi-jurisdictional projects and statewide projects that seek to create and/or retain jobs in the criminal justice system in West Virginia. The funds are provided by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and Bureau of Justice Assistance. They are administered by the Justice and Community Services Section of the West Virginia Division of Administrative Services.

Morgantown will receive $15,000 to employ one or more Prevention Resource Officers to act as mentors, role models and advocates for students in local schools.

Email: dbeard@dominionpost.com