Dear West Virginians, I Double Dog Dare You (Open letter)

Dear West Virginians,

I’m writing to fill you in on what’s happening in Ritchie and Pleasants counties—because it’s probably happening in your district, too! It’s shameful, it’s blatant, and it’s dangerous to democracy.

  1. In this letter, I’m going to give you the nitty gritty details about who is trying to buy my district (CLICK HERE to jump immediately to the list of lobbyists buying my district).
  2. I’m going to show you how to find out who’s buying your district (CLICK HERE to jump immediately to instructions on finding who owns your district).
  3. And then I’m going to DARE you to take real action to make West Virginia better for actual West Virginians. (CLICK HERE to jump immediately to my double-dog dare).

Because right now, our government isn’t working for regular people.

And it’s not hard to see

Forced Pooling. Cancer Creek. Property rights protections. Property values protections.

We fight these same battles over and over. Every. Single. Year.

Yet, regular West Virginians of both parties are adamantly opposed to Forced Pooling, which would allow the government to pervert the free market by removing your ability to negotiate a good price for your minerals. Forced Pooling would hold prices artificially low to allow corporations to make big profits at the mineral owner’s expense.

Since the term “forced pooling” is so poisonous, last year corporate interests sneakily tried to call it something else, hoping we wouldn’t notice until it was too late!

We beat it down again—but ugh!

That it happens again and again begs the question: Since regular folks are all a big fat NO on Forced Pooling—by whatever name these corporations want use to rebrand it (such as co-tenancy, forced leasing, unitization, lease integration, joint development, commission, etc.)—then how is it that we barely defeat it every session? It makes no sense if our representatives are working for us.

How is it that we all agree West Virginians deserve  property rights and property values protections—but we incrementally lose more of them year after blasted year, and our people are driven out of the state. As a result, for the last 37 years, WV has had the least appreciation of home value in the country.

Well, I’ve done some research… and I’m here to share the facts about who is buying Ritchie and Pleasants counties. Scroll down if you want to see the list right away.

But first, let’s acknowledge this: it’s not just one party.

Members of both parties have been purchased by corporate interests

Let’s just say it: in West Virginia, whether Democrats are in charge or Republicans are in charge, it doesn’t seem to make much difference to the average Joe. And that’s because bought legislators of both parties are working for the same corporate masters.

Keep in mind that your Democratic neighbors, your Republican friends—I’m talking about just regular every day people of both parties—are not like that. We all agree that…

  • Mineral owners should not be allowed to be screwed out of what they’re owed.
  • Surface owners shouldn’t have their properties ruined.
  • A frack dump shouldn’t be located in the peripheral zone of concern for the only public drinking water intake in the whole county.
  • People shouldn’t be without water and sewer in the United States of America—and with no one fighting for them.
  • We shouldn’t have to pay a disproportionate amount of money for infrastructure, when we don’t even see any of that money coming here to our district.

And there are honest legislators of both parties, too.

But there’s such a tedious, hurtful dynamic going on at the top levels. Republicans will blame Democrats for everything bad, and Dems will blame the GOP for everything bad… because it helps corporations to have their bought political mouthpieces incite regular folks to blame the other party, whichever “other” party that might be. The constant bitter fighting keeps people from being able to recognize and process who’s really calling the shots. The distraction allows more and more of our money to be funneled to already-wealthy corporate execs.

How do you have a productive national discourse when everyone has been whipped into a froth, and is defensive or accusatory or both?

The answer is, you don’t. That’s how they win. That’s why most of us live paycheck to paycheck, and get anxious over every car repair, because coming up with just $400 for an emergency is something most Americans can’t manage. (I’d suspect the percentage is higher here in WV.)

This, while  gas/oil CEOs have an income of as much as 144 million a year—and the median is 13 million a year. The people they’re screwing out of that extra half a percentage point of royalties or raising rates on… we’re just trying to make car payments, feed our families, pay off medical bills, or send the kids to college.

Meanwhile, these wealthy lobbyists whine to our legislators, “Boo, hoo, it’s too expensive to negotiate with landowners! You have to force them to take our lowball!”

The Corporate Purchase of this part of WV

That’s why I made a list of who was angling to buy my district based on my delegate’s last fundraiser. It is BLATANT.

When you hear that 85% of income growth since the Great Recession went to the top 1%, that’s the data showing: We’re paying the costs; they’re getting the profits. Our wages remain stagnant while corporate profits soar.

Now, here’s what I found out about his donors and supporters.

It’s this blatant

Get a load of the members of the “Host Committee” for the fundraiser.

harshbarger fundraiser

Here’s who they are and what they stand for:

(And as an addendum, EQT has installed a lobbyist directly in the governor’s office, too.)

That’s the list of entities rushing to support his campaign: big companies locked in endless litigation with regular West Virginians, big companies fighting to reduce your property values and take your property rights.

Their aims are shockingly flagrant. And they’re spending the money because they want legislators who’ll do what they tell them to, and help them achieve those aims. And they think they’ve found JUST the guy for the job.

Yeah, it’s that blatant.

Fight the corporate control of West Virginia

Their support is not a new thing, either. Last year, more than 40% of his donations were from corporate interests, specifically energy interests—many of these same companies. And he voted their way, for sure: he voted for Cancer Creek, co-sponsored a right-to-trespass bill, and more.

This year, Forced Pooling is likely to be branded as a “Commission Bill,” which would force us to accept the lease terms that a panel of “industry experts” dictates, and would remove our ability to hold out for a better price. [UPDATE: they’re calling it “co-tenancy” again this year.] They’ll also be wanting to remove our ability to sue for property damage, as well as legalize trespassing, so gas and oil companies can come onto your property and case the joint, to see if there’s anything there they want to steal.

That’s why the corporations are spending money on legislators who’ll help them write the laws taking away our rights.

Remember, corporations aren’t giving them money out of the goodness of their hearts. They’re expecting a hefty return-on-investment.

Follow the Corporate Money

Here’s how.

  • Visit THIS LINK. In fact, I recommend you bookmark it. [Update: 1/18/2018. The WV Sec of State’s office appears to be changing—one hopes upgrading—their system, because all the information about previous campaigns has disappeared. For now, you can see some of that information here at VoteSmart. Here’s how to find out who represents you.]
  • Scroll down the list of offices until you find your district, and click through.

Not sure what district you’re in? Have a look (click to enlarge).

  • Once you’re in your district, click on the names of the candidates to get access to their campaign finance reports, and browse. You’ll have to keep clicking through to see the actual reports, with all the donors and donation amounts listed. It’s all public info.

So… Dear West Virginians,

Expect to see smears and attacks on the folks who are fighting for YOU. That’s how it happens year after year that we end up fighting battles against legislation that regular people of both parties just don’t want.

I DARE you: let’s vote in a legislature that will be working for us for a change. Let’s send a message to the corporations who want to buy our government and steal our land and property rights.

Do it. I dare you: Look to see who the candidates in YOUR district are getting money from.

Do it. I dare you: Regardless of party, vote for the candidate who actually has an incentive to work for voters, and make their lives better.

Do it. I dare you. We CAN break the corporate control of our government. We CAN have people working to make things better for regular people.

 Do it. I double dog dare you.

Because West Virginia deserves better.



17 thoughts on “Dear West Virginians, I Double Dog Dare You (Open letter)

  1. I really admire a person who does the research to discover what our politicians (the best money can buy) are up to this term. I wish Lissa were running in my district (22) so I could cast my vote for her.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much! Just for your reference, here is the fundraising that happened last time for House of Delegates district 22. You can also choose to look at the 2018 cycle (but there’s not much there, yet.) Remember… if you don’t like the people who are running, you can always run yourself! And if you do like someone, consider volunteering for his or her campaign. Even if you only have a couple hours one time, help is usually very much appreciated!


  2. I saw the video of you being silenced and removed…. You need to charge the chairman for Purposeful Avoidance of Knowledge of offense Conspiracy to Obstruct Justice, Deprivation of 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendment rights Under Color of Law. You need to charge the 2 men who put thier hands on you and forcibly removed you with Felonious Restraint , Obstruction of Public Building, and Kidnap. You need to file the charges with the sheriff.


    1. Thanks so much for being concerned about me. I’m not a lawyer, but don’t think this was a violation of law; it struck me as just a twisting of the rules… which is certainly unfortunate. But that said, Delegate Shott brought a lot of attention to this issue it would otherwise not have gotten. Maybe that’s punishment enough for him? 😉


      1. As Buen said, you need to call the sheriff and charge them. It needs to go on record. Or they will do it again.


  3. Lisa buen is correct and also you might wish to remember that the sec. that guy put his hand’s on you to remove you that was assault , and he can be charge with that crime as they had NO right top put thier hand’s on you and i would sue them for all money ties they have and make sure you ask the people to join your suit to make them post all money gained from bribes they have got they can call it what they wish but its a bribe fact .many people are suffering cause of thier greed and i know a guy who will soon be homeless and he has terminal cancer and has been told NO to all help he has tried to get what a shame it is to be in this country of lair’s and thief’s the only thing that will fix it is for the people to rise up and remove the republican who have been paid for by Russian and other sources by force cause they will not go and they have already cheated the system like they did in NC by redrawing the district to give them selfs move votes that is a crime and yet they are allowed to do it that also helped trump gain electoral votes he should have not got .The suit in NC they won 7 other states will be claiming the same thing soon and that can also show trump did not win……Now the lab i worked for tested Aspartame and all 10 mice died .. below is what we got fro the FOIA since i’m on a time table and must hurry this is the first part of 56 line’s i give you the first part cause its important to see WHO voted this in and made money and i will post 1 line as to why it was so very important for this chemical to not be put in food! (also you will see again the republican cant win so they cheat and add more to the committee to get thier votes !) make sure to read the last line (june 1 1993) very good and once you do make sure you dont drink or eat any food with this in it, IF i got to make a choice every person that has died from cancer or some type of failure cause of this chemical MR. Rumsfeld and all republicans who voted this in would be charged with murder ! and gave the max for it . ok that said ill also post 2 link’s 1 to fact on climate change pure data , and one on current issue , and to use the maps click on and event and hit more info , the next page I’m sure you smart people can figure out how to use it if you like more info i also posted the over 500 name’s of republicans charged and convicted of child rape! Enjoy the info below and the links .

    In 1985 Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Monsanto was apparently untroubled by aspartame’s clouded past, including a 1980 FDA Board of Inquiry, comprised of three independent scientists, which confirmed that it “might induce brain tumors.”
    The FDA had actually banned aspartame based on this finding, only to have Searle Chairman Donald Rumsfeld (currently the Secretary of Defense) vow to “call in his markers,” to get it approved.
    On January 21, 1981, the day after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration, Searle re-applied to the FDA for approval to use aspartame in food sweetener, and Reagan’s new FDA commissioner, Arthur Hayes Hull, Jr., appointed a 5-person Scientific Commission to review the board of inquiry’s decision.
    It soon became clear that the panel would uphold the ban by a 3-2 decision, but Hull then installed a sixth member on the commission, and the vote became deadlocked. He then personally broke the tie in aspartame’s favor. Hull later left the FDA under allegations of impropriety, served briefly as Provost at New York Medical College, and then took a position with Burston-Marsteller, the chief public relations firm for both Monsanto and GD Searle. Since that time he has never spoken publicly about aspartame.

    July 1, 1983– The National Soft Drink Association (NSDA) urges the FDA to delay approval of aspartame for carbonated beverages pending further testing because aspartame is very unstable in liquid form. When liquid aspartame is stored in temperatures above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it breaks down into DKP and formaldehyde, both of which are known toxins.

    The climate data links as stated above hope you find them useful and if you do please share them to spread the facts that the republican party lie and destroy every thing out of thier greed ! enjoy the link’s

    climate change

    current issue and flu our break and so much more


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