Does there remain an honest person in Mingo County?

Last updated: August 27. 2013 10:21AM - 1489 Views
Ron Gregory ronjgregory@gmail.com



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The question this week is: does there remain an honest person in Mingo County?


Wait a minute, based on my discussions and investigations of what’s happening in Mingo politics, perhaps the question should be: has there EVER been an honest person in Mingo County?


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Before I am overwhelmed with hate mail and threatening phone calls, let me assure one and all that I am not serious. Sarcastically, I am pointing out the reputation assigned throughout the state that all Mingo County politicians are dirty. As I have said in past revelations in other locales, that simply cannot be true.


In the case of Mingo, I have no doubt we are allowing the “one bad apple” or perhaps five or six to spoil the whole bushel. There are honest, hard-working, moral people in Mingo County and some of them hold public office. Everyone should not be painted with the same brush, just because a few have gone off the reservation.


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Since it is usually my job to “call ‘em as I see ‘em” and let others toss and turn in trying to subtly get the message across, let’s start with a simple premise. There are two major factions of the Democrat party in Mingo. “Team Mingo,” which has received all sorts of recent publicity and appears to control virtually all of the current political offices, is for our purposes headed by County Commissioner “Hootie” Smith. It appears clear to me that indicted Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury (“Your Honor” to us commoners) and County Commissioner David Baisden are members of “Team Mingo.”


Republicans locally (if there really are any) and statewide have been frothing at the mouth hoping that Team Mingo folks will all be indicted and go to jail. The reason Republicans believe that should happen is varied. Some make accusations about vote-buying while others talk of illegal activities in the everyday conduct of county business.


But to sum up, the REAL reason Republicans are hoping for these wholesale indictments is that they hate Democrats and do not need an additional reason to think they should all go to jail.


State Senator Truman Chafin, with a larger-than-life statewide profile, could be considered to lead the “other” faction of Mingo Democrats. Aside from keeping Chafin in office, this side of the party has not had overwhelming success lately.


So, those briefly are the “sides.” I suspect either would join Republicans in celebrating if members of the other side were charged with wrong-doing.


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A word of real warning: I will be in Mingo this week, looking into some of the allegations and questions. Some reports are likely to follow.


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One reader suggested, in response to last week’s column, that I “find” a good church and therefore hook up with some “good women.”


First of all, I don’t think I ever indicated any interest in “hooking up” with ANY women. Secondly, I KNOW where the best woman is, church-wise. She’s a lifetime Catholic and will be found at Mass when I need her.


I’m not searching for love in all the wrong places.


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Which leads me to one more observation, reader-wise. Another one proudly claims to be a “bible-thumper.” I still wonder if these folks realize they are “thumping” a Bible, in the King James Version, that is nine books short of the Catholic Bible or the bibles that were used by early Protestants.


The esteemed King James commissioned a translation and revision of the original Bible and nine books were mysteriously left out. Could it be that those books were omitted because they did not conform to the religious philosophy or life of one King James?


The opening lines of the KJV note that the work is translated and “revised” from the original. Yet, bible-thumpers say they take every word literally as divinely-inspired by God. Did God divinely inspire these interpreters to take the nine books out? And what else did they omit?


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I do enjoy pointing out that, of all the Popes which totals nearly 300, NONE have been Protestant. ALL have been Catholics, from the First Pope St. Peter. Seems to me it’s time for a little diversity in Rome.


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New Boone Democrat Delegate Josh Barker spent his first official days as a state legislator during last week’s interim meetings in Charleston.


Barker has been placed with his fellow-traveler, Teddy Tomblin, in an East Wing office at the capitol. Barker and Tomblin are close friends and, I suspect, the pair requested that they room together during legislative sessions.


It is a truly unique situation for Boone that the county now has two members of the state House of Delegates, one Republican and the other Democrat. Republican Josh Nelson took office after the 2012 election.


It will be interesting to see if the two, Barker and Nelson, vote the same in “representing” the people of Boone County. Actually, as those who majored in civics 101 know (okay, there’s no such thing as majoring in civics 101), legislators are supposed to represent the views of their constituents – not their own.


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Yeah, they all do that.


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Harts businessman Chris Fleming, who gave perhaps the worst speech ever delivered in the history of mankind when he sought to be appointed to the House, is said to be serious about running for the office next year.


Fleming’s address to the Delegate District Executive Committee made no sense whatsoever and likely contributed to his not being chosen as one of three names to be forwarded to Governor Earl Ray Tomblin for consideration.


Fleming also went spastic when I asked him if he supported gay rights, in light of his stated support for the national Democrat platform.


He may need to polish his speeches and become a bit more media friendly to stand any chance.


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It’s generally assumed that the runner-up to replace former Delegate Josh Stowers, Gary McCallister, will run for the seat next year. Gloria Triplett, who ran two years ago is also expected to run. Some legislators said they had been approached by Beth Gross of Branchland, who was a citizen-lobbyist for autism legislation in recent legislatures and developed relationships with various legislators. The members said she asked for their support in making a run as well but all said they did not commit to do so.


Most incumbent Democrats are not going to endorse new candidates who may challenge existing legislators.


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Kanawha County Delegate Suzette Raines, who appeared on the verge of announcing her candidacy for Congress from the Second District two weeks ago, has gone oddly silent. Raines was virtually a “little-show” at legislative interims in Charleston last week.


I have suggested to Raines that she will be making a wise political move if she sticks with her guns and runs for the State Senate next year. She is making a mistake if she runs for the Congressional seat to be vacated by fellow Republican, Shelley Moore Capito.


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Word from Boone County is that … everyone in Mingo County is a crook. No, wait a minute. That’s not IT. Oh yeah, former state School Board member Delores Cook is said to be planning to take on Republican Delegate Josh Nelson in next year’s House election. The Dems have been searching for someone who can beat Nelson in the highly-Democrat district.


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A few folks, including legislators, were griping last week about the selection of Vice President Joe Biden to speak at the Democrats’ annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in October. One red-faced legislator, who was not carrying a gun at the time, allegedly told State Democrat Chairman Larry Puccio that the Southern coalfield counties will boycott the event because of Biden’s anti-coal stance.


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Well, I don’t know for sure that the legislator was not carrying a gun. He likely has a Concealed Weapon Permit. If he drops his purse, like Republican Delegate Kelli Sobonya did in Wheeling, maybe HIS gun will fall across the floor. Then he can beat up the first woman that goes for it.


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I wonder who I’m talking about here?


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I mentioned here last week what a great job United States Attorney Booth Goodwin is doing. I pointed out that Goodwin has prosecuted illegal drug use and political corruption as nobody else has ever done.


There are rumors, of course, that Goodwin will run as a Democrat for Governor in 2016. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is term-limited from seeking re-election.


Although I really doubt that Goodwin will, in fact, run, he would doubtlessly be a formidable candidate.


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When rumors arise about crooked politics, Lincoln County always jumps back into the fray. There are new whispers that elected officials in Hamlin are being “invited” to grand jury sessions. All of which could be true — or it could be false. I know a state senator I can ask, though, and find out for sure ….


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Readers are reminded that I solicit story ideas, rumors and gossip. I am NOT searching for a woman, however. You can contact me at the email listed or on my cell, 304-533-5185.

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