By Corey Oxley
Students came out to Corbly Hall Wednesday night to hear a hopeful governor candidate.
Jeff Kessler, democrat from Glen Dale, W.Va., spoke to students and community members about his quest to become governor. Kessler graduated from West Liberty University and received his law degree from West Virginia University.
"I plan to run for governor no matter the circumstances," Kessler said. "I filed for pre-candidacy to run for governor in April 2009 before Sen. Byrd passed away. I believe West Virginia is poised for a breakout decade."
Kessler has served in the state senate since 1997 and is now the serving president of the state senate. He has been very involved in mountaintop removal and promoting the severance tax.
"Every state needs energy, and we are currently sitting on a ton of it," Kessler said. "We are sitting on Marcellus Shale that can supply our nation for 50 years."
Kessler said he is interested in keeping young people in West Virginia.
"If we don't keep the young people in the state, then we don't have a chance," Kessler said. "It should not come as a surprise that we are 49th or last in every category when we continue to get rid of our young people."
Kessler said he doesn't want his kids to have to leave this state. He said he wants to keep the PROMISE scholarship active for students in West Virginia.
"My vision is for West Virginia to become the fastest growing state in the nation in terms of the economy in the year 2012," Kessler said. "There is no reason for West Virginia to settle for second or third best."
Kessler said West Virginia has to be able to have a diverse economy. He said the government needs to create jobs and provide opportunities for our young people.
"It's terrible we spend the money to educate our young people and then they leave," Kessler said. "For the last 30 or 40 years, we have spent 65 percent of our budget on education."
Kessler said he supports the national healthcare plan. He said everyone deserves the right to be healthy.
"I also want mountaintop removal to agree with the Clean Water Act," Kessler said. "For this to work, the inspectors have to do their job and do their job well."
"I think Kessler is an interesting candidate because of his social positions and his environmental positions," said Zack Miller, junior English major from South Charleston, W.Va. "He has a lot of good plans concerning Marcellus Shale and the Department of Environmental Protection."
Miller said using the severance tax from Marcellus Shale and investing it in West Virginia could be really good for our state. He said those issues are really what makes him an interesting and viable candidate.
"He has a lot of plans to make our state grow and diversify, and I think a lot of his ideas are interesting," Miller said. "Hopefully, he would be able to accomplish a lot of these things if he were governor."