Former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin says West Virginia is “in serious trouble” and he wants to lead it out of crisis mode by becoming the state’s next governor.
Goodwin, who prosecuted former Massey Energy Co. chief executive officer Don Blankenship, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination right across the street from the federal courthouse in Charleston. He resigned his federal prosecutor’s job to “apply for a tough job.”
“We need a leader who is not afraid. We need a leader who is honest. We need a leader who has the ability, but more important what we need is someone with the integrity and courage to do the right thing,” Goodwin said in front of a crowd of supporters, Metro News of West Virginia reported.
Fellow Democrats, Greenbrier Resort and coal mine owner Jim Justice and state Senate Minority Leader Jeff Kessler, announced their campaigns months ago. A poll released by the Justice campaign this week shows Goodwin trails Justice and Kessler with 13 percent of the vote.
Goodwin described himself as being “right down the middle” on the political spectrum, wanting things other West Virginians want like a good education for their children and protection from those who would seek to harm their families.
“People are fed up with politics as usual. I represent a compromise across the board,” he said.
In December, a federal jury found Blankenship guilty of conspiring to violate mine safety standards. Goodwin spent years investigating Massey's practices and then prosecuting the former CEO.
In November, the United Mine Workers of America's political arm decided to endorse Justice. Environmentalists have criticized his company's environmental compliance, but workers have come forward to support their boss.
On the current struggles facing the coal industry Goodwin said, “Coal will always be a big part of West Virginia. We have to come together and figure out what we’re going to do going forward. We want to hear from real West Virginians moving forward, what they want to do moving forward.”