BUCKHANNON — Democratic nominee for Governor Ben Salango stopped by The Record Delta Friday morning on his statewide “Driving West Virginia Forward Bus Tour.” Salango also visited Jawbone Park to discuss highlights of his campaign and why he believes he is the best pick for West Virginia Governor this fall.
Making his way around the Mountain State, Salango has already visited 22 counties on his bus tour. On the campaign side, the gubernatorial candidate said he’s visited nearly every county. He stated, “We’ve been working on making sure we spread our message, not just to Independents and Republicans, but also to the Democrats. I have really tried to unite everybody after the Primary.”
Salango stated that his inspiration behind running for Governor is the need for new leadership in the state. “I have watched over the last three and a half years, as we have continued to go backwards. We are still virtually last in everything – whether it is the economy, whether it’s our COVID response, infrastructure, rural health, all of those are issues. And I got in this race because we need someone who is going to pay attention to it all.”
When asked how he would’ve responded differently to the pandemic, Salango stated, “I would’ve made a mask mandate early. I would have made sure I was following the advice of our healthcare professionals. I would have not fired the leading epidemiologist in the middle of the pandemic. I would have made sure we were providing PPE to our first responders and frontline workers. I would have gotten the Care’s Act money out to the people who needed it the most. I would’ve had a plan in place.” In Salango’s opinion, Governor Justice waited until West Virginia was inundated with COVID-19 before planning and “now we are paying the price for it.”
As far as bringing businesses to the state, Salango explained that is he is a true ambassador for West Virginia and will work night and day to ensure the state’s success. Salango has served as a Kanawha County Commissioner since 2017 and has practiced law for over 22 years. As a Commissioner, he said he’s made economic development and job creation a top priority.
Salango owns his own law firm, as well as an apparel company called “304 Tees.” His small business currently sells to all 50 states and six continents. Though Salango believes he is very efficient with his time, he vows not to have any business interest as Governor if elected. “I think it creates a conflict of interest. It creates an issue of time management, and that’s really been the problem we’ve seen out of this governor,” he expressed.
Salango said he was one of the first County Commissioners in the state to move forward on medical cannabis. “I am open to full legalization, provided that we have a roadside test developed to determine if someone is under the influence of cannabis while driving.” According to Salango, a test of this caliber is in the works. Once those public safety issues are resolved, Salango said he would be comfortable with moving forward on full legalization. “Getting a Republican legislature to do it will be difficult, but it is certainly something I would be open to,” he explained. “It needs to be local farmers and we need to make sure we aren’t making the licensure so unaffordable that small businesses can’t do it. Our Governor has completed failed us on medical cannabis. He’s failed West Virginia. We would be bringing in a lot of revenue, there would be a lot more jobs, and tourists,” he explained. According to Salango, although medical cannabis was passed, Justice has intentionally delayed it all and made it incredibly difficult for small businesses to be involved.
Raised in a small town in Raleigh County, Salango has grown up in the heart of West Virginia and is a lifelong Democrat. Upon graduating high school, he attended WVU and WVU College of Law. Salango and his wife of nearly 20 years, Tera, reside in Kanawha County where they raise their two sons, and she serves as a Circuit Judge. In his spare time, Salango coaches youth soccer and enjoys the natural beauty of West Virginia by hiking, hunting, biking and running. For more information about Ben Salango’s gubernatorial campaign, visit bensalango.com.