Jim Justice says there is no one in the state who loves West Virginia more than he does.
It's possible that someone loves it just as much as he does, he admits, but there's no way there's someone out there who loves it more.
Justice stopped by the Times West Virginian Monday morning to discuss the vast opportunity for tourism growth, job creation and some of the things he's spearheading in the southern part of the state. Justice will be making investments in the hundreds of millions to create a summer training facility for the New Orleans Saints as well as a new medical center at the Greenbrier Resort, which he purchased in 2009. In addition to that, the PGA Tour stop Greenbrier Classic will be held for the fifth time this July, putting the state on an international stage.
Justice says with a laugh that those projects and events make him the newest poster child for tourism in the state of West Virginia.
So, putting him on the spot for a minute, the Times West Virginian asked Justice to tell us what are the five things that make West Virginia special.
Here are his responses:
1. I don't know of all of the medical schools, but I think we have strong medical schools within our state. And I think that always appeals to everyone.
2. I think you have a teacher base that genuinely cares about the children, and I think that's really, really valuable. Now, do they have the resources and everything they need to maybe do a better job or the facilities that we could could maybe do a better job with? Sure. But at the same, I think that we have a teacher base that really cares.
3. I'm a real outdoorsman. I love the outdoors. I've hunted and fished and done everything outdoors all of my life. A guy said to me just the other day … we were doing some grouse habitat work, basically we do that every year because I'm an outdoors nut. We were going around everywhere on a four wheeling, looking at what we were doing, and we stopped and you could just see forever. We'd just seen two wild turkeys and we had just seen a scarlet tanager, which is a little red bird with black wings, which is a beautiful little bird. And were just sitting there watching. He turned to me and he said "You know, there are so many of the wealthiest of the word, they don't see this. They don't have this." But we do have it. And we do have the opportunity if you enjoy the outdoors. People have this inner drive to just get outdoors. It's almost like gardening. You grow something, you feel like you're in connection with God almost.