Editor’s note: The following is a submitted column from Sen. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, based on his speech at SUBA’s Annual Awards Dinner, held Wednesday, April 5. The Southern Upshur Business Association meets the first Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department/Rock Cave Civic Center.
ROCK CAVE — There is something you can count on when attending an Annual SUBA awards banquet; the food is always the best. Let’s show our appreciation to those who prepared our meal for us, as usual they have given us the motivation to attend next year.
I would like to thank SUBA for your invitation to speak tonight; I would also like to recognize my wife, critic and best friend for standing with me for 40 years of marriage.
I do not remember my first attendance at a SUBA meeting, but I do remember some of the people and why they formed the Southern Upshur Business Assn. They were displeased because they felt the Rock Cave businesses were not being promoted as some other areas in the county were. Thank goodness that is no longer the case.
Residents of the Rock Cave area, such as Hunter and Jane Anderson, Mason and Dora Neely, Vesta Wilson, Gary and Sharon Bonnett, French and Lois Armstrong, Kenny & Sharon Parker, Denny and Nancy Hines, Bud and Joann Lee, Glen and JoAnn Hawkins, and Cecil and Margaret McCartney just to name a few banded together to form the Southern Upshur Business Association or SUBA as we all call it.
There was also a gentleman who was very instrumental in obtaining a clinic for Rock Cave; his name was Robert Marple. Mr. Marple had a vision and he went forward with the vision he had for Rock Cave. I believe Mr. Marple would be surprised and amazed at how his vision has grown to become Community Care of WV.
The reason I bring up the history of our area is there were people who took the initiative, developed a plan and, most importantly, worked their plan until it developed into a viable organization that is an excellent example for others or as some may say, it is the envy of folks from the surrounding areas. (SUBA and Community Care of WV.)
Unfortunately, today we are experiencing a shortage of members due to the passing on of some of those folks whom I just mentioned. I challenge everyone present tonight to bring at least one prospective candidate to a monthly SUBA meeting. I am sure we can grow our membership if we just try, otherwise we may lose a valuable community asset that has been here for almost 40 years.
After 16 years in the House of Delegates and almost 5 years in the WV Senate, people still ask me do I enjoy my time in the WV Legislature? Yes, I do, although there are times when I question the division in our state legislature. We have people who are left, people who are right, and we have moderates.
There is not a thing wrong with standing steadfast in your thinking, whether it be to the left, right or in the middle.
The problem we are experiencing is the people who lean left are unwilling to compromise, and people who lean right are also unwilling to compromise. You cannot run government without compromises. In my thinking, if we develop a bill that no one totally agrees upon, supporters or detractors, then it must be a good bill!
A good example is when the legislature privatized Workers’ Compensation. The unions hated the bill, industry and small business hated the bill, but now after 17 years, we have over 200+ companies marketing workers’ compensation in WV, and the State of West Virginia is not supplementing the system, thereby saving our taxpayers millions of dollars.
This is much like our PEIA revisions in (SB268) this year. We were facing a possibility the PEIA would become insolvent. Some hard decisions had to be made, but it was necessary to save the program. How good would your health insurance be to you and your family if hospitals, doctors, pharmacies and other providers decline to accept your PEIA health card?
With the passage of SB 268 we have stabilized the PEIA, which is so valuable to our state employees, public educators and our school service personnel. I am reminded of a time when I was running for WV House of Delegates a few years ago. Sue and I arrived here a little early; the community center had not filled up yet. French Armstrong asked, “How long is your speech?” I answered, “About 4 or 5 minutes.”
He said, “That is too long; when I was in the State Police, we had a signal if a speaker rambled on. He went on to say everyone knew what that sign meant; time to wrap it up or shut it down now!
I have asked several State Troopers if they knew of the hand signal at Trooper meetings, and everyone’s answer is the same. I am not aware that we had a hand signal, but if French Armstrong said it was so, then who am I to dispute Captain Armstrong.
Thank you again for your kind invitation to speak tonight. This is like an old-fashioned homecoming; it is great to be back home again.