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A Way-Too-Early Peek at the 2024 Governor’s Race

It is unlikely you are thinking about who might succeed Jim Justice as West Virginia’s Governor when his term expires, however, for potential candidates it is never too early.  With apologies to those of you who would like to put politics behind you for a couple of years, here is my way-to-early list of potential candidates for the 2024 West Virginia Governor’s race.

We start with the Republicans. The GOP wave in the 2020 election and the growth in Republican voter registration mean the list is long.  In no particular order, it includes:

J.B. McCuskey: The state Auditor has made no secret of his interest in running for Governor.  He easily won re-election last November, so he has proven he can win a statewide race. McCuskey published a column recently outlining his vision for effective government.

Patrick Morrisey: Morrisey has run statewide three times and won twice, both times for Attorney General.  His loss was only by three percentage points to Joe Manchin in the 2018 Senate race.  Morrisey is keeping his options open and may also have his eye on the Senate in 2024 when Manchin is up again.

Mac Warner: Like McCuskey and Morrisey, Warner won statewide twice and is now in his second term as Secretary of State.  Warner may also be thinking about the U.S. Senate in 2024, but he is keeping his options open.

Bill Cole: The former Senate President lost the Governor’s race to Jim Justice in 2016.  Cole is a wealthy businessman and has been concentrating on those interests.  However, he has also been a significant player behind the scenes for the GOP, raising and contributing money.  Cole has patched up with Justice and has been working with him on legislative initiatives.

Chris Miller: Miller is the son of 3rd District Congresswoman Carol Miller.  Like Cole, Chris Miller also raised money for Republican candidates last election cycle and he is now contemplating a run himself.  Miller gets a lot of exposure in the Charleston-Huntington media market because he appears in his family’s auto dealership TV ads.

McKinley/Mooney/Miller: West Virginia will lose one of its three Congressional seats after redistricting. Three incumbents—David McKinley, Alex Mooney, Carol Miller—and two seats mean the odd person out who wants to say in politics could run for Governor or U.S. Senate.

Wildcard:  2024 is still a ways off, plenty of time for a person or persons not mentioned here to put together a campaign.  Keep in mind a crowded field improves the chances of a candidate winning the Primary Election with just a plurality.

While Republicans are champing at the bit for a run at the Governorship, Democrats are struggling.  The steady decline in voter registration and the significant losses in the 2020 election leave the party scrambling for viable candidates.  But here goes:

Ben Salango: The wealthy Charleston attorney ran a solid race for Governor in 2020, but he was still swamped by Justice. Salango did build name identification and would be a viable candidate again in 2024. However, does he want to spend even more of his own money, especially when it is becoming increasingly difficult for a Democrat to win statewide.

Stephen Smith: Smith worked tirelessly for months to build grass roots support for his “West Virginia Can’t Wait” campaign for Governor in 2020. That effort included many other progressive candidates for other offices.  Smith raised real money on small donations and came within five points of Salango, proving that “small ball” can still be effective.

Natalie Tennant: Tennant was a rising political figure in West Virginia who has been caught in the undertow of the Republican wave.  She has lost her last couple of races, but she has strong name recognition and is a energetic campaigner.

Joe Manchin: I included his name on the list because, well, he’s Joe Manchin.  He thought seriously about running for Governor again in 2020, but he passed and stayed in Washington, where he is now a more significant player because of the 50/50 split. But with Joe, you never know.

Wildcard: Who knows how many promising young Democrats got involved in politics thinking that they, too, could become Governor one day. There are too many to list.  Their dreams are likely tempered by the state’s deep red hue. However, some may still believe their political destiny awaits.

 

 

 

 

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Former VA doctor to be sentenced Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A former doctor employed by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Beckley will be sentenced Monday for sexually abusing patients during exams.

Jonathan Yates, 51, of Bluefield, Virginia, pleaded guilty last September to three counts of depriving veterans of their civil rights under color of law by sexually abusing them.

The sentencing before U.S. Judge Frank Volk is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the federal courthouse in Beckley.

Yates admitted to rubbing the genitals of two veterans and digitally penetrating a third person’s rectum without any legitimate medical purpose. The veterans were seeking treatment for chronic pain through osteopathic manipulative therapy, yet Yates’ actions caused additional pain.

Yates was indicted in May 2020 for sexually molesting six patients from September 2018 to February 2019.

He faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

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Big 12 Snapshot: (Mostly) back on the court

— By Dave Weekley

Time for another Big 12 Snapshot and as we head to the final week of January, COVID-19 remains one of the biggest story in this conference and every other conference in the country.


Questions remain if a complete regular season schedule will, or should, be played.  COVID’s impact on the Big 12 Tournament is yet to be determined, however the NCAA has now confirmed that its tournament will take place in one location — Indianapolis.


As the games sporadically continue, how teams react following COVID pauses are impacting the conference standings.  WVU played its first game in two weeks at K-State on Saturday.  Texas Tech is scheduled to come off a long COVID pause when they travel to West Virginia on Monday night.  Iowa State returns this week after a conference-long four-game COVID pause.


It’s a busy week in the Big 12, so lets check out our latest Snapshot, noting again they we use a fantasy sports-style tier format, rather than conventional standings or power rankings.


TIER ONE;  (potential top four NCAA Tournament seeds)


BAYLOR BEARS


Baylor continues to be the only undefeated team in the Big 12 at 14-0 and a perfect 7-0 in league play.  However, as the winning streak extends, the pressure that BU feels each time out will keep building.  For example, at Oklahoma State on Saturday with the Cowboys missing freshman star Cade Cunningham, the Bears actually trailed at the under-12 media timeout of the second half, 50-48, before pulling away 81-66.  Baylor currently remains the Big 12’s best bet for one its teams to reach the Final Four, but a loss or two before the Bears get to Indianapolis isn’t out of the question, as conference road tests at Texas, at Oklahoma, at WVU and at Kansas are looming just over the horizon.


TEXAS LONGHORNS


Texas stays in Tier One this week, despite getting an incomplete on their Snapshot report card.  The Longhorns didn’t play any games last week, after COVID issues scraped a pair of road tests at Iowa State and at TCU.  Texas has been dealing with COVID issues of their own; Brock Cunningham didn’t play in their most recent game with K-State and Kai Jones and freshman Greg Brown were also sidelined, reportedly due to contact tracing.  The Longhorns now begin a rugged three-game stretch that starts Tuesday night at Oklahoma, continues in Lexington next Saturday night with a primetime ESPN game with talented, but streaky Kentucky in the Big 12-SEC Challenge before hosting Baylor on February second.


OKLAHOMA SOONERS


Oklahoma jumps up into Tier One status, on the heels of their 75-68 win over Kansas.  Don’t look now, but OU is 9-4, alone in third place in the Big 12 at 5-3 and have a pair of wins against teams in the Top 10 (don’t forget about the Sooners’ 75-71 win over WVU).  De’Vion Harmon was big in the upset of KU, tying his season-high with 22 points.  This game featured a 14-0 OU run in the first half and Oklahoma won the battle of the boards, 36-25.  Oklahoma visits Texas on Tuesday and will likely be underdogs again but consider; OU has beaten UT in two of the last three times they have met, including a 10-point victory in Austin last year.


KANSAS JAYHAWKS


What to make of Kansas is an open question at the moment.  After losing to Oklahoma, KU has dropped three in a row for the first time since 2013.  It wasn’t as if the Jayhawks didn’t have their chances in Norman, they trailed by just a point at the half, were down just four at the under-four minute media timeout, but never really threatened after that.  Marcus Garrett, did his part with 21 points and 12 boards, but David McCormack — who seems to be the lightening rod for critics of this team right now — was mostly on the bench down the stretch.  At 4-4 in league play, KU can just about forget the regular season conference title.  Kansas hosts TCU on Thursday; just what the doctor ordered for a team needing some confidence.  However, the Jayhawks at are Tennessee next Saturday for the Big 12-SEC Challenge — and the potential is there for a very long night for Bill Self.


TIER TWO; (post-season tournament (NCAA and NIT) contenders)


WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS


West Virginia seems to flow between Tier One and Tier Two status in our Snapshot.  If the Mountaineers get comfortably above five hundred in league play, we will return them to our top tier.  WVU got back to 3-3 in the Big 12 with an easy 69-47 win at K-State on Saturday in a game that shook the rust off a Mountaineer squad that hadn’t played a game in two weeks.  It was easy for West Virginia to lose focus in a game like this, as Kansas State seemed more inclined to turn the basketball over than shoot at the basket.  West Virginia turned 28 KSU turnovers — most ever for a Bruce Weber coached team — into 26 points.  Deuce McBride had 18 points on a day when he was shifted to the shooting guard slot in Bob Huggins’ juggled starting five.  WVU is expected to get a much tougher test against Texas Tech Monday night in Morgantown.


TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS


If you thinking it’s been a while since you’ve seen Texas Tech on the court, you’re right.  Its been eight days since TTU’s 68-60 loss to Baylor in Lubbock.  The Red Raiders had games at TCU and most recently with Iowa State postponed due to COVID and now head for a showdown with WVU in Morgantown on Monday night, a place where they have won just once since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12.  The fact that WVU got a chance to shake off its own COVID-caused pause in a romp at K-State should provide a big advantage in this game with TTU.  The journey to WVU is — per miles — the longest road trip of the year for Texas Tech and they will also be on the road for their game in the Big 12-SEC Challenge, at LSU, against a group of Tigers who are 8-1 at home so far this season.


OKLAHOMA STATE


Oklahoma State begins the week coming off a home loss to Baylor, but questions remain about Cade Cunningham’s status for Monday night’s game against Iowa State.  Cunningham was available for pre-game warmups prior to the game against Baylor, but didn’t play, due to COVID protocol.  OSU’s performance against undefeated BU was still impressive in the loss, when you consider the Cowboys had just eight available players and hadn’t practiced for an entire week until the day before the game.  Oklahoma State will host Arkansas in the Big 12-SEC Challenge in a meeting of former SWC rivals.


TIER THREE: (cellar dwellers)


TCU HORNED FROGS


We can’t let TCU out of the Tier Three basement until we have a reason to do so.  The Frogs had their most recent three scheduled games postponed due to COVID, but we are still recalling the previous stretch of three games in which TCU was blown out by an average of 21 points.  If you think the road is getting any easier for Jamie Dixon and his Frogs, think again.  TCU is at Kansas on Thursday night to face a team fired up about their first three-game losing streak in eight years.  Follow that up with a road trip to Mizzou to take on the nationally ranked Tigers, who have already beaten Illinois and Oregon at home.  Good luck with that.


KANSAS STATE WILDCATS


It’s very hard to find good things to say about Kansas State basketball right now.  Thankfully, our Big 12 Snapshot doesn’t have to worry about things like soothing bruised egos.  When you get right down to it, by its very nature, basketball is a relatively simple game; put the ball in the basket.  This is something that has been sorely lacking for K-State recently.  KSU managed just 47 points in a home loss to WVU, after scoring only 50 points in a blowout defeat to Oklahoma.  In the first half of the loss to West Virginia, the Wildcats managed to have more turnovers (18) than points (17).  Being an offensively-challenged team is not a good thing when you go up against someone like Baylor and that’s up next for Kansas State — on the road —  on Tuesday night.


IOWA STATE CYCLONES


Iowa State gets a chance to get back on the court for the first time since January ninth, when host Oklahoma State on Monday night.  Iowa State remains the only team in the Big 12 without a conference win (0-5) and are coming off a stretch of four straight league games postponed by COVID.  ISU coach Steve Prohm said on Friday that they have ten scholarship players available for the game with OSU, but if COVID protocols drop that number to six scholarship players (the Big 12 minimum to compete) there will be four walk-ons also ready to play.  Whoever is available to play for ISU, they need to tighten things up on both ends of the floor.  ISU is the last in Big 12 scoring offense, offensive rebounds per game, assists, assist/turnover ratio, total rebounding, etc.  You get the picture, ISU is bad, really bad.

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IRS warns of scams as second round of stimulus payments are sent out

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — With the second round of Economic Impact Payments in the hands or on the way to many West Virginians, the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI) is warning citizens of potential scams to steal money and take personal information.

Kelly Jackson, a Special Agent in Charge of the IRS-CI Washington DC Field Office spoke with MetroNews and said in the last several months, IRS-CI has seen a variety of Economic Impact Payment (EIP) scams and other financial schemes designed to steal money and personal information from taxpayers.

She said many scammers use scare tactics during the COVID-19 pandemic including:

– Text messages asking taxpayers to disclose bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payments.

– Phishing schemes using email, letters and social media messages with key words such as “Coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “stimulus” in varying ways. These communications are blasted to large numbers of people and aim to access personally identifying information and financial account information (including account numbers and passwords).

– The organized and unofficial sale of fake at-home COVID-19 test kits (as well as offers to sell fake cures, vaccines, pills, and professional medical advice regarding unproven COVID-19 treatments).

– Fake donation requests for individuals, groups and areas heavily affected by the
disease.

– Bogus opportunities to invest in companies developing COVID-19 vaccines while promising that the “company” will dramatically increase in value as a result.

“The IRS is not going to initiate contact with a taxpayer. We are not going to send you a text message or an email asking you for your bank account information,” Jackson told MetroNews.

IRS-CI continues investigating hundreds of COVID-19-related cases with law enforcement agencies domestically and abroad and educating taxpayers about scams, a release said.

COVID-19 scams should be reported to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submitted through the NCDF Web Complaint Form. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies.

Taxpayers can also report fraud or theft of their Economic Impact Payments to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Reports can be made online at TIPS.TIGTA.GOV.

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Lane says PSC can hold Frontier’s “feet to the fire” in new agreement

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Public Service Commission Chairwoman Charlotte Lane says she’s confident an agreement regulators have reached with Frontier Communications about the company’s future in West Virginia will finally provide the help Frontier’s customers have been seeking.

The PSC recently entered orders in the Frontier Bankruptcy case and the Quality of Service Focused Management Audit the PSC began a few years ago. Lane said the highlight of those orders is requiring Frontier to maintain and upgrade its systems.

Charlotte Lane

“We can monitor what Frontier is doing to make sure they are living up to their promises and to make sure they are putting money back into the system,” Lane said during an recent appearance on MetroNews “Talkline.”

Frontier has committed to spending a minimum of $200 million on capital improvements in West Virginia by the end of 2023 and committed to deploying fiber to at least 150,000 locations in the state by the end of 2027.

Lane said if Frontier falls short the commission can strike back.

“If they have not done what they have said that they will do then we have the opportunity and obligation to pull them back in here and require certain steps,” she said.

The PSC began the service audit in 2018. It covered the status of the company’s copper network — including staffing and capital investment — as well as company policies and metrics determining the quality of service. The PSC received nearly 2,000 complaints from Frontier customers in 2019, largely issues with landline phone and internet service.

“We have finally nailed those issues down and we’ve ordered solutions to those problems,” Lane said.

West Virginia Public Service Commission Chairman Charlotte Lane speaks with @HoppyKercheval about settlements with Frontier Communications. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/2NCkaNLBOP

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 20, 2021

Some still have doubts

U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito asked the Federal Communications Commission last month to reject the bids Frontier has submitted for millions of dollars in broadband expansion in the Mountain State.

“I’m asking for a rejection and I’m asking that they rebid the locations that Frontier got,” Capito said.

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (File)

Capito basing her objection in part on the company’s service record.

The Federal Communications Commission initially awarded $245 million of the $362 million available for projects in the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) auction. Frontier was the low bidder on 70% of the funds available for West Virginia.

But the Communications Workers of America, which represents Frontier workers in West Virginia, has come out in favor of Frontier’s bids.

CWA District 2-13 Vice President Ed Mooney said Frontier is the only company that can make a substantial difference when it comes to broadband in the Mountain State.

“With the largest share of the geography and the largest number of employees readily available in the state to build this network, they’re going to be in the best position to actually complete it,” Mooney told MetroNews.

The FCC has yet to make a final decision on the broadband bids.

Ed Mooney (photo/CWA)

Lane maintains the recent orders entered by the PSC include safeguards for the state and its residents. She said Frontier will have to file quarterly reports.

“They’ll tell us what they are doing, how they are spending their money, how much money they are taking in from West Virginia customers and how much money they are getting in federal grant money,” Lane said.

She said the first significant view of progress will come at the end of September.

“If they have not done what they said they would do, we can bring them back in and require certain steps like setting up an escrow fund, requiring a surety or a performance bond or letter of credit which will make them to do what they’ve agreed to do,” Lane said.

Frontier has more than 300,000 customers in the Mountain State and employs approximately 1,200 workers in West Virginia.

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Applications still coming in for open police chief’s job in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — City Manager Kim Haws said the city has thus far received 20 applications from those interested in becoming the city’s next police chief.

Kim Haws

The application period for the new chief closes Feb. 4.

“We’re waiting for the time limit to pass and we will process those applications and try to do so as quickly as we can,” Haws told members of Morgantown City Council.

Nine-year chief Ed Preston submitted his resignation last April. He stepped down at a time when the city cut spending because of the impact of COVID-19. A decision was made to leave some opening officer positions vacant.

Haws is also working on filling a few other key positions in the city. He said the job of finance director has been re-advertised. The announcement closes on Jan. 25.

The city is also looking for a planning director. Haws told council he’s getting close to making a hire.

“Just about finalized interviews for that position,” Haws said. “We’d like to offer that position in the next week or so.”

Haws, a former city manager in Bridgeport, has been on the job for a little more than one month. He’s been overseeing the searches even through he’s been dealing with his own case of COVID-19.

 

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West Virginia nearing 1,900 coronavirus deaths

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia is approaching 1,900 deaths related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the latest numbers from the state Department of Health and Human Resources.

Health officials on Sunday reported 23 new deaths, bringing the total for the pandemic to 1,895.

Officials received 555 new cases between the Saturday and Sunday reports. West Virginia has 24,479 active cases and a daily positive test rate of 7.15%.

According to the department, 165,627 first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered so far. Nearly 40,000 residents have received a second dose.

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State’s new vaccination registration system begins Monday

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s new centralized location for registration to be scheduled for a COVID-19 vaccination goes live at 8 a.m. Monday.

Registration will be provided through a link at vaccinate.wv.gov.

“That will allow them to register online themselves,” state Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch said.

Secretary Bill Crouch

An online form will see very basic information, Crouch said. It will also ask the person if he or she have any underlying medical conditions.

The state is urging those over 65, school workers over 50 and first responders who haven’t yet been vaccinated to register.

Crouch said those who don’t use the internet can call the state’s COVID-19 hotline to register at 1-833-734-0965. But he stressed the best way will be to register online. He said call waiting could be 2:30 minutes or more.

Those registration will choose one of three ways to be notified with a vaccination slot opens up for them.

“The choices are to get an email back, to get a text back or get a phone call back,” Crouch said. “It actually will communicate back in terms of when the vaccine is available and when your turn comes.”

Crouch said the registrant will then be instructed on the next step to take.

Bill Crouch, Secretary of Health and Human Resources, speaks with Hoppy Kercheval about vaccine distribution across the Mountain State, and centralized vaccine appointments. WATCH: https://t.co/wkudfIRZCB pic.twitter.com/Vw5ZZ3Ifdp

— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) January 22, 2021

Crouch said there are thousands of state residents already on a waitlist for vaccination. He said they would not be supplanted by those registering with the new system. He said they would keep their place on the list.

Phone lines at county health departments have been jammed with calls for those interested in getting vaccinated. Crouch said the new system should relieve some of the logjam.

“It takes the load off the call center as well as the local health departments,” he said.

The online registration will be available 24/7. The call-in option will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. The option won’t be available on Sundays.

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Manchin, Capito discuss second Trump impeachment trial ahead of article delivery

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate will receive an article of impeachment against former President Donald Trump on Monday, with the chamber scheduled to begin the related trial next month.

West Virginia’s senators and their colleagues will be jurors in the country’s second impeachment trial since January 2020. This time, however, the impeached person is not someone currently holding public office.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., explained the steps of the impeachment trial last Friday; House of Representatives managers will deliver the article of impeachment Monday evening, and senators will be sworn in Tuesday. House managers and Trump’s defense team will have until Feb. 2 to submit a pretrial brief and response to the article respectively.

“During that period, the Senate will continue to do other business for the American people, such as Cabinet nominations and the COVID relief bill, which will provide relief to millions of Americans who are suffering during this pandemic,” Schumer said.

Both parties will present their arguments during the week of Feb. 8.

The House impeached Trump on Jan. 13 for inciting the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, making the 45th president of the United States the first president impeached twice. Ten Republicans sided with House Democrats in approving the article. West Virginia Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Carol Miller opposed a second impeachment.

Trump will also be the first president to have their impeachment trial happen after leaving office.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. (Office of U.S. Senator Joe Manchin)

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., hoped the House would wait on impeachment to allow Congress to confirm nominees for President Joe Biden’s Cabinet and pass coronavirus legislation.

“I mean, pretty much you could see the evidence unfold before you if you watched television,” he told MetroNews.

“We are still a country of the rule of law. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and (Trump) has the absolute right to defend himself.”

Manchin said Trump incited the riot by encouraging supporters to attend a rally outside of the White House before the violent demonstration, pushing claims of widespread voter fraud, and saying then-Vice President Mike Pence could reject electoral votes.

Manchin, like the article of impeachment, also noted Trump pressured Georgia officials to change the state’s election results.

“With all the things we have seen,” Manchin said, “if there’s an explanation, I want to hear them.”

Manchin and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., were in the Senate chamber when Trump supporters stormed the Capitol, halting the certification of the presidential election results. Five people died because of the insurrection, and the rioters damaged the legislative building.

“As I look back on that, I’m just incredibly appalled by the invasion into the United States Capitol, the destruction and the trashing of our basic attributes,” Capito said.

As Trump is no longer in office, Capito recognizes the trial is unprecedented and the possible outcomes are not clear.

“That’s a big question, and I’m not sure I have an answer to that yet,” she said.

Manchin said if the House wanted to prevent Trump from holding public office again, legislators should have instead cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars public officials from being in office if they led an insurrection or rebellion against the United States.

States ratified the 14th Amendment in the wake of the Civil War.

Manchin said during an appearance on PBS’s “Firing Line” the Senate should consider invoking the 14th Amendment to possibly remove Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Josh Hawley of Missouri. Both senators have received backlash for protesting the votes of Arizona and Pennsylvania. Cruz and Hawley announced their objection plans ahead of Jan. 6.

Manchin told MetroNews the more probable punishment for Cruz and Hawley would be citations for violating ethics rules.

“If they were making phone calls during that period of time, if there’s a connection to any of the insurrectionists, any type of fundraising going on during that time in the middle of an attack on the Capitol, that’s up to the Ethics Committee to take up,” he said. “I think they’d be dealt with very harshly, and they should be.”

Seven Democratic senators have asked the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Cruz and Hawley for their actions, which the lawmakers say “lent legitimacy to the mob’s cause and made future violence more likely.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va. (File)

Hawley called the request “a flagrant abuse of the Senate ethics process and a flagrant attempt to exact partisan revenge.”

Capito said Cruz and Hawley should not be punished for questioning the election results.

“Quite honestly, if it were me, I would have folded my tent after I saw all of the mayhem that was going on,” she added. “I think it was unfortunate that Sen. Hawley did not do that. He had plenty of opportunities to say, ‘I made my point. I’m moving on.'”

Capito said earlier this month while she has questions about how some states handled the most recent election, the Senate should not reject certified results if there is not evidence of irregularities.

“At an absolute minimum, I believe that Congress should only consider rejecting the electoral votes certified by a state when there is clear and convincing evidence both that there was misconduct in that state’s election and that the result of the election would have been different absent that misconduct,” she said in a Jan. 4 statement.

Trump became the third president to be impeached when the House approved two articles of impeachment in December 2019; legislators charged Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a phone call involving Ukraine’s leader.

The Senate acquitted Trump in February 2020, in which Manchin found Trump guilty of both charges and Capito twice voted not guilty. Two-thirds of senators have to vote guilty for an impeached individual to be convicted.

The 100-member Senate is split between Democrats and Republicans; Vice President Kamala Harris is responsible for casting a tiebreaking vote if needed.

Manchin said he is not confident there are enough Republican senators who would find Trump guilty. He noted all Democrats would vote to convict Trump.

“You need 17 (Republicans) to make 67,” he said.

Capito said she wants to listen to both sides of the trial before making a decision.

“I’m going to be the impartial juror I was the first time and make my decision at the end of that,” she said.

Ahead of Schumer’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., proposed delaying the trial’s start until mid-February. McConnell has said Trump and “other powerful people” provoked the demonstrators, but McConnell has not publicly stated how he will vote.

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Stress relief task force at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine links students to pandemic support

GREENBRIER COUNTY, W.Va. — In many cases, different methods of support for students at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, located in Lewisburg, in the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are originating with the school’s Stress Relief Task Force.

“It’s hard enough to go through medical school, yet to go through med school during the COVID pandemic is unprecedented,” said Dr. James Nemitz, WVSOM president.

Julianna Quick, a learning specialist and student counselor, and Dr. Roy Russ, associate dean for preclinical education, first had the idea to create a forum for students to make administrators aware of their concerns.

Launched in September, WVSOM’s Stress Relief Task continues to be made up of one student from each of the graduating classes along with faculty from biomedical sciences, clinical sciences and the osteopathic principles and practice departments.

Additionally, staff from WVSOM’s Clinical Evaluation Center are involved along with staff from the National Boards and Exam Center, the Statewide Campus, Office of Student Life and the Office of the President.

All meet at least once a month.

Questions about personal protective equipment , details of higher education aid in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security or CARES Act, and access to stress-relieving activities like virtual yoga sessions or socially-distanced art class have been addressed.

“We recognized very early on the huge mental health impact it (the pandemic) has on students especially, but also on employees,” said Nemitz.

“We’re constantly messaging, looking for opportunities and reaching out because everybody’s under duress. Everybody is experiencing loss in some way and I think it’s the responsibility of my institution to reach out to our students, to our employees and to the community.”

For months now, the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine has operated with many courses online, largely lectures, as part of COVID-19 protocols.

“There are still hands-on experiences that are just essential for medical education and those are ongoing, but we’re doing it safely,” said Dr. Nemitz.

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