Name: Earl Ray Tomblin
Family: Wife, Joanne, who is the President of Southern WV Community and Technical College; Son, Brent, who is a college student
What was the first thing that attracted you to your wife? Joanne was beautiful, down-to-earth, smart and personable – and she still is. She worked at WMUL, the Marshall University student station, then at WSAZ while we were dating. I still treasure time with her.
What do you like to do for fun (if there were no restrictions on your activities)? My favorite pastimes are spending time in the yard and in the garden. Even with the long days as Governor, I sometimes will head out to the garden late in the evenings to see how the tomatoes are doing. I love fresh produce and we enjoy canning.
Do you have any pet peeves? I really don’t like it when people are late. I always try to be on time even with the busy schedule.
What is the most important life lesson your parents taught you? As a young man growing up in Chapmanville, I learned to work hard and be considerate of others. I was always taught to listen to what others had to say, to know as much as I could about a subject before making a decision, and building consensus is far better than refusing to work with others. They also instilled in me a deep commitment to community, and a love of our great state.
What is one of the biggest issues you see facing West Virginia today? I think we have accomplished so many things in our state, particularly addressing our longstanding financial issues. Those efforts have us poised for tremendous growth and opportunity, creating jobs for our residents all over the state. Still, we have to dedicate ourselves to addressing the tragedy facing so many in our population who have become addicted to drugs. We have passed legislation to aggressively address this situation, but we must be determined to carry out its implementation. It is vital to so many communities and families that we remain vigilant on this issue and do all we can to bring about its cure.
What advice would you give? I think people should know that they as individuals and we as a state can accomplish great things if we believe in each other and work together. I also want them to know that the education of our children is a central component to the uplifting of our entire state. There is direct linkage between an educated people, a successful economy and a peaceful community.