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PNS Daily Newscast - September 21, 2018 


We’re covering stories from around the nation including a victory for safety for nuclear site workers; President Trump chastises Republicans for not securing border wall funding; and a predicted spike in population fuels concerns about the need for care.

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WV Progressives Look For Silver Lining

West Virginia voters such as Alexandra Gallo are looking to a new kind of politics. (Dan Heyman)
West Virginia voters such as Alexandra Gallo are looking to a new kind of politics. (Dan Heyman)
August 7, 2017

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Strange as it may seem, some progressives say this could be a good time for building their movement in West Virginia.

Last week, Democratic Gov. Jim Justice re-registered as a Republican. In last November's presidential election, Donald Trump did better here than in all but one other state.

Still, Alexandra Gallo, development director with the West Virginia Citizen Action Group, said starting with the health care debate, ordinary progressives have been organizing personal outreach - and having good results.

"The power of just knocking on your neighbor's door and having a three- to five-minute conversation with them is invaluable - what could ultimately change where we're at right now,” Gallo said.

With Justice joining the GOP, state Republican Party officials have been citing the final transition of a solidly blue state to almost completely red.

Democratic activists have said the party needs to return to basics to rebuild around a new kind of politics. The Indivisible group in Upshur County - an anti-Trump organization started after the election - is hosting a grassroots summit September 29 and 30.

Gallo said Trump seems to be more popular in West Virginia than in most of the country - where his numbers have been collapsing. Part of the reason seems to be the promise of putting coal miners back to work.

Gallo said that's a false promise in a lot of ways. She admits that the coal industry did build a lot of wealth.

"But it hasn't been built in West Virginia. And it's been built off the backs of coal miners and on working families,” Gallo said. "Yeah, I want coal miners to have jobs too, but I also don't want them dying prematurely of black lung disease."

She said with the media often misleading and ordinary voters often feeling desperate, cynical and ignored, just listening to people can be transformative.

"I personally am seeing former Trump supporters that have shifted political ideology,” Gallo said. “And the reason why is because there has been trust and rapport that has been built."

She said that although the changes have yet to show up at the ballot box, the recent sweep of the Morgantown City Council by progressives is one example how the future could go.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV