Using Our Rivers for Economic Development

Yakfest1I’m running to represent the 17th Senate district in the West Virginia legislature because it’s time that we have a state Senator who will advocate for our communities and be a partner in bringing much needed resources and attention to their needs. As I travel throughout the district I’m constantly impressed by the Mayors, communities leaders, and volunteers who are working so hard to revitalize and reinvent their towns.

Folks like Bill Currey and Mayor Scott James of St. Albans recognize that a clean Coal River can be an economic driver for tourism. This past Saturday the Tour de Coal float trip had a record breaking 1,500 participants, while the town hosted the first annual Yakfest, a fun street festival playing off the kayaking theme for the weekend. As I watched people fill the downtown streets, we discussed how this energy can be harnessed to attract new businesses and jobs in the community.

Earlier that day I spent time on the Elk River, one of West Virginia’s most precious natural resources and one that is completely underdeveloped as a recreational and tourism draw. Not only should we do more to promote this as a beautiful water trail, but for too long the abandoned rail line along the river has been eyed as the one of the most promising ways to draw hikers, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts from Clendenin to Charleston. And for too long this project has remained in limbo. I say let’s quit talking and develop the partnerships that are needed to get this project done!

As your state senator I will commit my time and expertise as a community and economic development practitioner to work side by side with our community leaders and volunteers to bring whatever resources, tools, and policies are needed to support projects in the district that will attract people, investment, and an energized citizenry.

I’m looking forward to meeting more of the folks throughout the district this summer and fall and hearing your ideas about how to move our communities forward. Please go to for more information on how you can get involved in my campaign. Your volunteer support is needed...please consider signing up to help bring better representation to our district and to help move West Virginia forward for all its people.

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  • Carolyn Eddins Outman
    Mayor Scott James of St Albans is one of those mayors. He has some great ideas and needs our support.
  • Terrell Ellis