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Wise appoints two Panhandle natives to state posts

January 17, 2001

Wise appoints two Panhandle natives to state posts



By BOB PARTLOW / Staff Writer, Martinsburg

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer

Wise in ShepherdstownSHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise Wednesday announced the appointment of two people who will act as his representatives in the Eastern Panhandle.

Locke Wysong of Charles Town, W.Va., will serve as his special assistant for the Eastern Panhandle, and Joseph Greene of Martinsburg, W.Va., will be his assistant for federal-state relations, Wise said at Shepherd College on the third stop of a four-city tour of the state following his inauguration Monday.

"We are going to bring Charles Town and Charleston closer together," Wise told college officials, students and other elected officials at his afternoon appearance.

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Greene served as Wise's representative in the Eastern Panhandle from 1994 to 2000 when Wise served in Congress and represented the area. Wysong served in the office last year.

Both will be based in the Eastern Panhandle, although it was unclear where.

Former Gov. Cecil Underwood had an office on Martin Street near the Apollo Theater, which he opened just before the November election. Wise is looking for office space with another state agency or in a government office building in Jefferson, Berkeley or Morgan counties, Wysong said.

"We have to see what's out there and what's available," Wysong said.

Anyone who wants to contact the office can call 1-304-267-0177, the state Division of Labor, with whom Underwood's staff shared space.

Wise discussed several issues he'd raised during the campaign, including PROMISE Scholarships, which would enable more students to get financial aid.

He pledged again to work to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, improve health care for poor children and work on economic development initiatives.

Specific to the Eastern Panhandle, Wise said he supports more money for the B&O Railroad Roundhouse in Martinsburg and the construction of an expanded W.Va. 9.

For many years, the state has planned to make W.Va. 9 a four-lane highway from the Virginia state line to Berkeley Springs, W.Va., but most of the focus has been on the leg from Virginia to Martinsburg.

"It's time we got this built," he said.

Wise said the Eastern Panhandle "can be and should be one of the main technology corridors for the state of West Virginia." Improving technology will be a key part of his administration, he said.

He was asked about the issue of state employees and others getting less for their salary in the Eastern Panhandle because the cost of living is higher there than in other places.

Wise said the issue is important, but said it's important to raise teacher pay to compete with other states.

He acknowledged that many of the programs he's proposed cost money and have met resistance from people who said the state could not afford them.

"We can't afford not to do it," he said.

Wise also visited Clarksburg, Beckley and Wheeling Wednesday. He said he would return to the Panhandle often.

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