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Weirton Frontier Crossings

Rep. Mooney meets with area business leaders

By August 3, 2023No Comments

Article Originally Published:

WEIRTON — As part of his visit to the Northern Panhandle Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Alex Mooney took the opportunity to meet with local business and community representatives, in an effort to learn more about their concerns and how he can help meet the needs of the area.

“I’m here to listen; to take it back to DC and fight for it,” Mooney, R-W.Va., said prior to the event held at Theo Yianni’s Restaurant. “I don’t have an agenda for this.”

The local stop on what Mooney dubbed a “listening tour,” was organized with assistance from Weirton resident Annetta Weller, who noted her family has been a part of the community since 1913.

Weller explained those gathered represented various slices of the community, from local entrepreneurs and business officials, to elected officials, members of the law enforcement community, civic leaders and more.

Several of those in attendance had an opportunity to raise issues of concern and ask questions of Mooney, Wednesday, with Weller explaining those who didn’t could still reach out to Mooney’s office.

“He is someone who will work for Weirton as he has for the other parts of West Virginia,” Weller said of Mooney.

Among those sitting at the tables was Mark Glyptis, president of USW 2911 at Cleveland-Cliffs Weirton, who brought up ongoing concerns at the company about a rise in imported products which have led to the layoff of one-third of the employees at the local mill.

“We’re the most efficient steelworkers in the world,” Glyptis said, warning, if action isn’t taken soon, it could result in devestating consequences for the mill and community.

“Don’t forget us,” he urged Mooney.

Nick Tranto, a city resident who once worked for the Internal Revenue Service, encouraged more focus on tax reform, but said Congress needs to address the needs of small businesses instead of only the large corporations.

“The fuel is the small businessperson,” he said of his thoughts on what drives the nation’s economy.

Brooke County Prosecutor Joe Barki discussed his concerns, saying while crime often is a local issue, he feels the federal government can get more involved by addressing issues with the import of fentanyl and other illicit drugs into the country.

Weirton Police Chief Charlie Kush pointed to the rise in mental health issues, often, he said, accompanying drug issues, and the lack of adequate treatment facilities for those needing such services.

“There’s nothing local,” he said, explaining his officers have had to transport residents to other parts of the state to receive treatment.

Ward 1 Councilman Tim Connell looked to the potential of a better future in Weirton, noting the opening of new manufacturing facilities in the community and the increased focus on the northern end of the city which once housed much of the production of Weirton Steel.

“There’s a lot of open land and I want to see it filled again,” he said. “This area is starting to build back up.”

Along those same lines, resident Dean Harris, who previously served as the city’s mayor, recommended Mooney look into obtaining federal funds for additional investment in infrastructure, in particular the construction of a new bridge connecting Brown’s Island with Ohio Route 7.

The development of improved river crossings has been part of the plan of the Frontier Group of Companies in its rehabilitation of much of that northern Weirton property. Funding already has been obtained to begin building an industrial access road connecting an area near Cove Road and Weir Avenue, through the Frontier Crossing property to Brown’s Island.

Mooney, a resident of Charles Town in Jefferson County, was elected last year to represent the newly redistricted northern Second District of West Virginia, defeating former First District U.S. Rep. David McKinley in the Republican primary.

Shortly after election, he announced his intention to seek the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Joe Manchin.