On Wednesday, April 5, Sen. Bill Hamilton, R-Upshur, spoke at the Southern Upshur Business Association’s Annual Awards Dinner. During his speech, he challenged members to bring prospective candidates to a monthly SUBA meeting. Sen. Hamilton believes that with a little effort, the association can grow its membership and avoid losing a valuable community asset.
The Southern Upshur Business Association, or SUBA, was formed almost 40 years ago by a group of Rock Cave residents who were dissatisfied with the lack of promotion for their local businesses. A group of individuals consisting of Hunter and Jane Anderson, Mason and Dora Neely, Vesta Wilson, Gary and Sharon Bonnett, French and Lois Armstrong, Kenny and Sharon Parker, Denny and Nancy Hines, Bud and Joann Lee, Glen and JoAnn Hawkins, and Cecil and Margaret McCartney came together to establish the organization.
One member who was instrumental in obtaining a clinic for Rock Cave was Robert Marple. Mr. Marple had a vision for Rock Cave and went forward with his plan, which has since developed into Community Care of WV. Sen. Hamilton believes that Mr. Marple would be surprised and amazed at how his vision has grown.
The organization’s current challenge is the decline in its membership owing to the demise of a few of its founding members. Sen. Hamilton challenged everyone present at the dinner to bring at least one prospective candidate to a monthly SUBA meeting to help grow the organization.
Sen. Hamilton has been in the West Virginia Legislature for almost 21 years, and he still enjoys his time there. However, he has concerns about the division in the state legislature. There are people who are left, people who are right, and there are moderates. In Sen. Hamilton’s opinion, the problem is that the people who lean left and the people who lean right are unwilling to compromise. In order to run government effectively, compromises must be made.
Sen. Hamilton used the example of the privatization of Workers’ Compensation to illustrate his point. The unions and industry/small business both hated the bill, but after 17 years, over 200 companies are marketing Workers’ Compensation in WV, and the State of West Virginia is not supplementing the system, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.
Another example of necessary compromise is the recent revisions to PEIA in SB268. Facing the possibility of the program becoming insolvent, some hard decisions had to be made to save it. With the passage of SB268, the PEIA has been stabilized, which is invaluable to state employees, public educators, and school service personnel.
During his speech, Sen. Hamilton also shared a humorous story from his time running for the WV House of Delegates. He and his wife arrived at a community center a little early, and French Armstrong asked how long his speech was going to be. Sen. Hamilton answered, “About 4 or 5 minutes.” French responded that it was too long and shared a story about a hand signal used at Trooper meetings to indicate when a speaker was rambling on.
Sen. Hamilton enjoyed being back home and speaking to the members of the Southern Upshur Business Association. He believes that by working together and compromising when necessary, the organization can continue to thrive for many more years to come.
In conclusion, Sen. Hamilton’s challenge to bring prospective members to SUBA meetings is a call to action for the community to come together and support local businesses. His message of compromise and working together to achieve common goals is a reminder that in order to succeed, we must be willing to set aside our differences and find common ground.