Manufacturing in State of the State Addresses: West Virginia

West Virginia’s new governor, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, delivered his first State of the State address on Wednesday (text). In our search for references to manufacturing in governors’ agenda-setting speeches, the Democrat takes first prize so far — not just for his specificity, but also for putting industry in the context of energy development.

Tomblin, who succeeded Gov. Joe Manchin after Manchin won the U.S. Senate election, declared, “Our top priority must be to continue to improve our business climate to attract, retain, and create good paying private sector jobs.” He naturally discussed coal, persuasively and proudly so. Less expectedly, Tomblin also hailed the potential of Marcellus Shale natural gas.

West Virginia’s economic future lies not only in its continued use of coal as a resource. Lying just a mile below the surface of much of our State is a rock formation called the Marcellus Shale. This formation is rich in natural gas and new technology and techniques have made access possible for the oil and gas industry.

The development of the Marcellus Shale formation for natural gas production is an economic development opportunity for the State, and we need to embrace it! [applause] Billions of dollars of private capital have already been invested in this activity and with it has come many jobs.

For example, today Dominion announced its intention to build a natural gas processing facility in Natrium, West Virginia. This project will allow for significant development opportunities in West Virginia. And it is not only about the production of natural gas. The development of the Marcellus Shale has the potential to restart the manufacturing industry in West Virginia. It is an opportunity that we simply cannot let go by. [applause]

Are you paying attention, New York?

The governor also emphasized the importance of education and more efficient, responsive government.

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