Officials from Mon, Preston counties head to Charleston

CHARLESTON — Tuesday was Monongalia and Preston County Day at the West Virginia State Legislature.
About 100 people, representing business, the county chambers of commerce, county elected officials and nonprofits made the trip to Charleston.
As has been the habit for several years, legislators were treated to breakfast prepared by Jean Guillot of The Preston County Inn, who also is the mayor of Kingwood. Because of construction at the Capitol, seating wasn’t available to serve Preston County’s signature buckwheat cakes and sausage, so sausage gravy and biscuits were served instead.
Eldon Callen, vice president of governmental affairs, community/economic development for the Morgantown Area Chamber of Commerce, and Robbie Baylor, executive director of the Preston County Chamber of Commerce, headed the organizing committee.
The two counties have gone to the legislature together for several years. It just makes sense, Callen said.
“We’re so interconnected,” he noted. “I believe it’s like brothers and sisters. We’re one family.”
About 46 percent of Monongalia County’s workforce comes from outside the county, many from Preston County, he noted, while some Mon County residents drive to Preston to work.
“There’s just that connection that could be stronger if we had some of that Roads to Prosperity money,” for road improvements, Callen said.
The delegations set up displays at the Capitol and were recognized in both the House and the Senate. Pastor Mike Estep of Monongalia County delivered the prayer in the Senate, and Preston County Pastor LaDeana Teets did the same in the House.
Meetings were set up in advance with several elected officials for members of the group. One of those was with Agriculture Commissioner Kent Leonhardt.
Leonhardt talked about a number of projects that, “combine the strength of Preston County’s agricultural community and the distribution and commercial strength of Monongalia County, how that connection could magnify itself in a couple years,” Callen said.
Preston High students who were slated to attend cancelled because of the weather.
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