By Lacie Pierson
Acting Senate President Jeff Kessler made a visit to the university that shares the namesake of his home county during a campaign forum Wednesday evening.
The Marshall County Democrat and West Virginia gubernatorial candidate spoke to a group of students and community members in Corbly Hall on Marshall University's campus, where the main concerns of the evening ranged from West Virginia's energy resources and potential wealth to teachers' salary and, atop Kessler's priorities, job creation.
"I believe that West Virginia is poised to have a breakout decade, and we will be able to flourish if we can break away with some of the ways of the past," Kessler said. "It should come as no surprise that we come in 49th and 50th in so many ways when we export our most precious resource, our children, from the state. If these young students are leaving the state, I want it to be because they want to -- not because they have to."
That was the news Jordan Richardson, a political science major from Nitro, was hoping to hear. As a former intern at the capitol in Charleston, Richardson said he's paying a lot of attention to what all of the candidates have to say.
"It's important for all of the candidates to visit college campuses because college students are a huge part of who they will represent in this state," Richardson said. "Pretty much every college student is going to be in a position of looking for a job, and we're looking for someone who is going to help create those jobs."
While Kessler said he was enthusiastic about talking with students, he said he's eager to meet West Virginians from all walks of life.
"The campaign, so far has gone very well. It's very energizing because it's a big state, and there's plenty of opportunity to meet a lot of people," Kessler said. "We're looking forward to really getting to go all over the state and meet as many people as we can during the next four weeks."