Ben Salango, a Democratic candidate for governor of West Virginia, made a stop in Ripley on Oct. 1.

As part of his bus tour of the region, he spoke to a sizeable crowd on the Jackson County Courthouse Lawn. Joined by Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant, West Virginia American Federation of Teachers President Fred Albert, and West Virginia School Service Personnel President Joe White, Salango spoke about his vision for West Virginia.

When asked what his top priorities would be if elected, Salango focused on three issues.

“Our infrastructure and broadband are the keys to economic development and the economy is always a focus,” he said. “Health care, particularly opioid recovery, is a primary concern. West Virginia is number one in opioid addiction and deaths. We need to be number one in opioid recovery and I have a plan to address this.”

As for how he would handle the COVID-19 health crisis differently, Salango said dispersing the CARES Act funds would have been done more efficiently, instead of having a billion dollars at this point being unspent.

His message to West Virginians was to “not let down your guard with COVID-19.”

“The changes made to the metric map make us appear better off than we are,” he said. “We need honest answers.”