WV Democrat Denied Dept. Request for Health Crisis Funding Prior to Pandemic

Salango rejected a budget request from his county health department that would have bolstered funding for an emergency, including the potential outbreak of a flu-like illness.

Per Washington Free Beacon:

West Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Ben Salango accused the state of failing to prepare for the coronavirus just one year after he denied funding to address potential health emergencies.

In his role as Kanawha County commissioner, Salango rejected a budget request from his county health department that would have bolstered funding for an emergency, including the potential outbreak of a flu-like illness. Kanawha-Charleston Health Department officials asked for $160,000 from Salango's committee—the same amount they received for three consecutive fiscal years—in February 2019. Salango was one of three commissioners to vote down the request, which department chairman Dr. Arthur Rubin said would help "pay for unforeseen emergencies … like H1N1." Salango was skeptical of the request.

"If you're using county commission money for specific projects, why can't you just come in and ask for the money when you have the need? Why does it have to be given now?" Salango said. "Anybody else that needs a car or an air-conditioning unit or whatever, they will just come in and ask."

Salango went on to approve just $80,000 for the department, saying that if health officials need additional funds in the future, "you come in and ask for it." County budget documents show Salango also cut funding for "mental health" from $120,000 to $55,000. Just one year later, he promised to be a governor "who can plan for the worst."

Salango has repeatedly criticized Gov. Jim Justice's (R.) pandemic response, saying he was "caught flat-footed" by the virus.

"West Virginia needs new leadership," Salango told the Charleston Gazette-Mail in May. "The time to plan for a crisis isn't weeks or months after it starts, it's months and years in advance."

Salango did not respond to a request for comment.

Salango, who was elected to the county commission in 2018 and also works as an attorney, became the state's Democratic gubernatorial nominee in June after winning a tight primary. Salango spent $1.1 million in the race to defeat community organizer Stephen Smith, who spent just $581,000.

Justice won the 2016 governor's race as a Democrat but became a Republican in August 2017. He has won the support of GOP voters, winning 63 percent in the June primary, overcoming a $2 million spending deficit in his race against former West Virginia Department of Commerce secretary Woody Thrasher.

Justice and Solango will face off in November. Justice enjoys an advantage in the conservative state, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which said West Virginia was "not likely to become closely contested."

3 hours ago

Ambassador Nikki Haley Endorses Greg Gianforte In Montana Governor’s Race

The former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and Governor of South Carolina has risen to nationwide stardom in the Republican Party and gives Gianforte a major backing in the race to govern the Treasure State.

1 day, 3 hours ago

Barrett deserves quick Senate confirmation to Supreme Court

In Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump could not have picked a better, more qualified person to serve on the United States Supreme Court.

3 days, 22 hours ago

Innocent Men Were Sent To Prison And Released Decades Later. Now Gov. Cooper Won’t Pardon Them

“It may not seem like a lot to most people but if you spent a decade, two decades, three decades, four decades in prison for something you didn’t do and to have the governor say we’re sorry for what you went through, it’s extraordinarily powerful,’

4 days, 22 hours ago

"Active Censorship": Social Media blocks anti-Biden story

Critics claim social media censors articles that could potentially hurt democrats

5 days, 19 hours ago

Joe Biden is the luckiest, least scrutinized frontrunner

Since Aug. 31, Biden has answered less than half as many questions from the press as Trump

6 days, 21 hours ago

Andrew Cuomo Lambasted For Book Touting His Pandemic “Leadership”

33,000 Deaths, Over A Million Out Of Work, Thousands Of Businesses Forced To Close On Cuomo’s Watch