West Virginian of the YEAR

Written by and photographed by Zack Harold

"Smith is planning a gubernatorial bid unlike any other in West Virginia history." says Zack Harold in WV Living Magazine's West Virginians of the Year article.

Stephen Smith, WVian of the Year

For the past six years, Stephen Smith helped West Virginians help themselves. Then he quit his job as executive director of the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition to take that mission to the next level.

Before we begin you should know that Stephen Smith did not want to be our West Virginian of the Year. It’s not that he’s ungrateful. He made clear that he very much appreciated the honor. It’s just that he felt there were others who deserve the honor more than him.

Smith had some ideas for an alternative. He suggested we pick someone from last winter’s teacher and school service personnel strike, or the Communication Workers of America strike that followed soon after. He also suggested we highlight one of the several women who won a seat in the state Legislature in November. “There is something happening in West Virginia right now,” Smith Says.

His suggestions are good ones. Some of the people he mentioned have already made it into the pages of this magazine, as readers of last year’s “Wonder Women” list are aware. And Smith is correct — something is happening in West Virginia. But that is exactly why we had to respectfully ignore Smith’s refusal.

Something is happening in West Virginia and Smith is one of the reasons….

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