Chris Miller discusses vaccination requirements, economic development during campaign stop in Greenbrier County

By Matthew Young, RealWV

LEWISBURG, W.Va. – “If I ran my businesses the way the government spends our tax dollars, I’d be broke.”

That’s what gubernatorial candidate Chris Miller told attendees of the Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee’s monthly meeting in Lewisburg on Tuesday. Miller, the businessman son of Republican Congresswoman Carol Miller, was on-hand to participate in a “town hall” session where he took questions from the audience regarding his bid to be the state’s next chief executive.

“At the end of the day, a governor is supposed to be the CEO of the state,” Miller said. “His job is to solve problems and report to the taxpayers, which is every single person in this room. I think that system is a little bit upside down because right now we as taxpayers are beholden to government, as opposed to realizing that we are shareholders in the state. Every dollar that we pay in taxes should be looked at as providing us with a return on investment to make our lives better.” 

In a gubernatorial primary with six Republican candidates, most polling shows Miller to be a close second behind current frontrunner Patrick Morrisey, West Virginia’s Attorney General. Former Delegate Moore Capito and Secretary of State Mac Warner are polling in third and fourth place respectively. 

While Miller’s message was one of positivity, and the question and answer portion remained mostly cordial, the evening, much like the primary season itself, was not without its contentious moments. The first two questions raised were both related to negative ads directed toward Miller’s chief opponent, Patrick Morrisey. 

“Why do we have to be so negative about it?” An audience member asked. “Why can’t we campaign on the good things that you can present, not this negative stuff?”

“I agree,” Miller replied. “At the very beginning of this election process, I let every single candidate know that my intention was to stay positive the entire time. But in the past month I was attacked by (Patrick) Morrisey and his PACs (Political Action Committees) in an absolutely ridiculous way, where they made up complete and utter fictitious lies about me.”

“I knew I had to respond,” Miller continued. “What I did was to make sure I responded factually.”

Also on-hand to pose a question was Greenbrier County Delegate Todd Longancare, who laughingly cautioned Miller against “spending too much time in Greenbrier County,” as the candidate may find himself not wanting to leave.

“Our current governor vetoed HB 5105, which was a bill that we fought to get out of the House,” Longanacre said, referring to legislation intended to remove childhood vaccination requirements. “It’s a bill which would provide parental rights for choosing what to jab their kids with, and what not to jab their kids with.” 

“My question is, how do you feel about him vetoing that vaccine exemption bill?” Longanacre asked.

Miller responded by first explaining that neither he, nor his family, have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

“I believe in freedom,” Miller said. “I believe in us being able to be responsible for our own families. History shows us that the single greatest governing entity in the history of mankind is the family unit. Me and my wife know how to make better decisions for all three of our children than the government ever will.”

“I do not believe that anybody should be forced to take something that they do not want to,” Miller added. “They should also bear the consequences of that choice, which means that if you as a parent decide that you don’t want your child vaccinated against measles and they get measles, you have to bear the consequences of that. It’s not very smart in my opinion, but it’s something that should never be forced on a population.” 

In response to a question regarding the state government’s current strategy for economic development, Miller noted that there is substantial room for improvement. 

“I think we’ve done some good things economically speaking,” Miller said, comparing the state’s recent arrangements with Form Energy and Nucor. “But I don’t think they’ve been negotiated the right way. We’re talking about negotiating – we’re talking about making sure the taxpayers get the most out of whatever deal has been created.”

“With Form Energy, I don’t like that deal,” Miller continued. “We had an out-of-state company touting DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) stuff, and touting green energy and killing the coal industry, using our tax dollars to create a battery plant here. We also haven’t seen the explosion of employment like they said we were going to.”

“Nucor, I think, was a good deal,” Miller added. “I don’t know if it could have been negotiated better because I wasn’t privy to all the behind the scenes. But I will tell you that if I was involved, I would find more juice left in that squeeze. That’s something I’m pretty good at.”

To learn more about Chris Miller and his campaign to be West Virginia’s next governor, read The RealWV’s full interview here. 

The Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee has extended invitations to the Morrisey, Capito, and Warner campaigns to participate in future town hall sessions in the coming weeks. RealWV will provide updates regarding potential scheduling as additional information is made available.

Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 14. 

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