Ben Salango

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Ben Salango
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Born (1973-05-15) May 15, 1973 (age 48)
ResidenceCharleston, West Virginia
NationalityAmerican
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma materWest Virginia University (Bachelor of Arts
Occupation
  • Attorney
  • small business owner
  • politician
OfficeKanawha County Commissioner
PredecessorDave Hardy
Political partyDemocratic Party (United States)
Spouse(s)Tera Salango

Ben Salango is a West Virginia attorney, small business owner, and politician. He currently serves as a Kanawha County Commissioner.

Early Life and Education

Salango grew up in a two bedroom trailer in Raleigh County, West Virginia with his parents and three siblings. [1] He attended West Virginia University|West Virginia University, and graduated in 1994 with his Bachelors Degree. He earned his Juris Doctor|Juris Doctorate from Wvu law|WVU College of Law in 1998.

Kanawha County Commission

After Commissioner Dave Hardy was appointed to Jim Justice's cabinet as Revenue Secretary[2], Salango was appointed to the Kanawha County Commission by Commission President Kent Carper and Commissioner Hoppy Shores.[3]

Salango was re-elected to the commission on November 6th, 2018 to serve the remainder of the term, which is on the ballot again in 2022. [4] He has not confirmed if he is running for re-election in 2022.

Since joining the commission, Salango has spearheaded multiple significant programs for the county including building the Shawnee Sports Complex, creating a program to help small business owners succeed, and giving all county employees 12 weeks of paid family leave.

Shawnee Sports Complex

Shortly after joining the commission, Commissioner Salango proposed building a youth sports complex in Dunbar, WV. Commissioners approved a study to be conducted on the economic impact of a youth sports complex.[5] Then a series of soil, air, and water quality tests were performed by Dow Chemical Company after chemicals were found below West Virginia State University campus, which is next to the site for the sports complex. Results were announced at a commission meeting with independent evaluations concluding that there were no health risks posed by building the sports complex at Shawnee Park.[6] Multiple public hearings were held for the public to discuss the benefits and disadvantages of building the sports complex, while the proposed plan enjoyed general public support. [7]

On July 10th 2018, Salango - joined by his fellow Commissioners - officially cut the ribbon on the Shawnee Sports Complex. The sports complex provides facilities for a variety of sports including soccer, baseball, and softball.[8]

As of 2020, the Shawnee Sports Complex had hosted many competitions including the US Youth Soccer National Tournaments along with players from across the nation. The sports complex continues to generate millions of dollars each year for the metro valley.[9]

Upper Kanawha Assistance Program (UKAN)

In March of 2019 the Kanawha County Commission approved and announced a program led by Commissioner Salango to support new and expanding entrepreneurs in the Upper Kanawha Valley.[10] The Upper Kanawha Assistance Program offers up to $10,000 of forgivable loans to applicants with 25 or fewer employees seeking to start or expand a business in the Upper Kanawha Valley, which includes the communities of Belle, Cabin Creek, Campbell's Creek, Cedar Grove, Chelyan, Chesapeake, Dupont City, East Bank, Glasgow, Handley, London, Malden, Marmet, Montgomery, Pratt, Rand, Smithers. [11] Applicants must allow an audit of their business and submit a business plan to the commission to receive the loan, and the loan is forgiven after continuous operation of the venture for 2 year. [12]

As of 2020, Salango has presented UKAN loans to entrepreneurs of book stores, transportation companies, auto repair shops, construction companies, bakeries, and pizza shops.[13][14][15][16][17]

In January of 2020, Commissioner Salango proposed and led discussion with fellow Commissioners to provide 12 weeks of paid family leave to county employees. The previous policy allowed for county employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave unpaid, but Salango's proposition would allow new parents (or grandparents with primary guardianship) to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave.[18] The proposed policy passed, making Kanawha County the first county in West Virginia to pass 12 weeks of paid family leave. [19]

Preston & Salango, PLLC

West Virginia attorneys Brett Preston and Ben Salango started their own law firm, Preston & Salango, PPLC in 2002 in downtown Charleston, West Virginia|Charleston.[20] Their law firm has successfully settled multimillion dollar cases across the country including settlements for workplace death (10.8 million), workplace injury (2 million), commercial trucking accident (4.4 million), and failure to diagnose (2.85 million). [21]

The law firm has been the recipient of multiple awards and favorable rankings including Tier 1 for Medical Malpractice Law and Personal Injury Litigation (U.S. News & World Report|US News)[22]

Among his peers, Salango has also earned numerous awards for exceptional work including Lawyers and Leaders Award from WVU College of Law, Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in America, and a superb 10.0 rating in the Avvo|AVVO Legal Directory.[23][24][25]

Preston & Salango, PLLC has also contributed to the community through pro-bono work and sponsorship of a "Sensitive Santa" event for children with special needs.[26]

Gubernatorial Race of 2020

On October 10th, 2019 outside the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Charleston, WV, Commissioner Salango announced his candidacy for Governor. [27]

Primary Election

In the primary election, Salango faced State Senator Ron Stollings, community organizer Stephen Smith, Jody Murphy, and Douglas Hughes to be the Democratic Candidate for Governor.[28]

Governor Jim Justice and Secretary of State Mac Warner moved the Primary Election in West Virginia to June 9th, 2020 one month after the originally scheduled primary. On June 9th, 2020 the West Virginia imary election was held. The contest was close between Salango and Smith, who had announced nearly two years before the general election would happen[29], but Salango won with 38.74% of the vote and significant margins in Kanawha and surrounding counties.[30]

General Election

In the general election, Salango faced incumbent Governor Jim Justice, attorney Erika Kolenich, and environmental activity Danny Lutz.[31]

The general election was held on November 3rd, 2020, with Justice taking nearly 65% of the vote while Salango took a little over 30%.[32]

Notable Endorsements[33]

  • Actress and West Virginia native Jennifer Garner[34]
  • US Senator Joe Manchin[35]
  • Former WV Governors Earl Ray Tomblin, Bob Wise, and Gaston Caperton[36]
  • United Mine Workers of America[37]
  • WV Working Families Party[38]
  • Charleston Gazette-Mail[39]

Personal Life

Commissioner Salango is married to Tera Salango, a Kanawha County judge, and they live in Charleston, WV with their two sons and three dogs.

In his free time, Salango enjoys coaching soccer and climbing mountains. He has reached the peaks of mountains across the world including Mount Rainier and Mount Kilimanjaro.[40]

References

  1. Register-Herald, Jackie Whetzel for The. "Candidate for governor talks about his background and his plans". Beckley Register-Herald. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  2. Sauber, Elaina. "Hardy to be revenue secretary under Justice". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  3. Kersey, Lori. "Kanawha commission chooses Charleston lawyer Salango". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  4. writer, Rick Steelhammer Staff. "Longtime Kanawha commissioner Carper easily wins re-election". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  5. Kersey, Lori. "Kanawha to study Shawnee Park sports complex proposal". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  6. Kersey, Lori. "Chemicals found at site of proposed sports complex at Shawnee Park". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  7. Kersey, Lori. "Commission hears from public on Shawnee sports complex proposal". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  8. Staff, Katherine Wiley; Nathan Takitch; WSAZ News. "UPDATE: Ribbon cutting celebrated at Shawnee Sports Complex". WSAZ. Retrieved 2020-12-08.
  9. WRITER, Steven Baublitz STAFF. "Shawnee Sports Complex continues to generate millions for Metro Valley Region". WV News. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  10. CLAY, JARROD (2019-03-06). "Kanawha County Commission to offer loans to new, expanding small businesses". WCHS. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  11. kris. "UKAN". Kanawha County. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  12. writer, Rick Steelhammer Staff. "Nurturing entrepreneurship in Upper Kanawha Valley goal of new loan program". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  13. "UKAN grant helps Upper Kanawha Valley business owner expand shop". WOWK 13 News. 2020-01-03. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  14. Starkey, Jessi (2019-07-12). "Family owned business benefiting from UKAN program". WCHS. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  15. "3 businesses receive UKAN grants | WCHS Network | News • Sports • Business | Charleston, WV". Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  16. "Kanawha County Commission Meeting March 5th, 2020 Agenda". kanawha.granicus.com. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  17. "Kanawha County Commission Meeting January 16th, 2020 Agenda". kanawha.granicus.com. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  18. "Kanawha County Commission to vote on paid parental family medical leave". WSAZ. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  19. writer, Joe Severino Staff. "Kanawha first county to give 12 week paid family leave". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  20. "WV SOS - Business and Licensing - Corporations - Online Data Services". apps.sos.wv.gov. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  21. "About Our Firm | Preston & Salango, PLLC". Preston & Salango. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  22. "Preston & Salango, PLLC - Firm Overview". bestlawfirms.usnews.com. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  23. "Announcing the 2017 Lawyers and Leaders Award winners | College of Law | West Virginia University". www.law.wvu.edu. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  24. "Ben Salango". Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  25. "AVVO Legal Directory". AVVO.
  26. "Ready or not, Christmas comes". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  27. Flatley, Jake (2019-10-10). "Kanawha commissoner launches run for governor". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2020-12-09.
  28. "Election Night Reporting". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  29. Thomas, Alex (2018-11-28). "Former anti-poverty group leader announces gubernatorial bid". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  30. "Salango wins Democratic primary; will face Justice in fall". AP NEWS. 2020-06-10. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  31. "Election Night Reporting". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  32. "Election Night Reporting". results.enr.clarityelections.com. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  33. "Endorsements | Ben Salango for Governor". Ben Salango. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  34. Staff, WSAZ News. "Ben Salango hosts Facebook Live with Jennifer Garner to discuss issues in W.Va". WSAZ. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  35. WVMetroNews (2020-03-18). "Manchin endorses Salango in gubernatorial contest". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  36. "Caperton endorses Salango for governor in 2020". AP NEWS. 2019-12-18. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  37. Staff, WSAZ News. "United Mine Workers of America endorses Salango for governor". WYMT. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  38. McElhinny, Brad (2020-08-20). "Salango gets endorsement from WV Working Families Party, progressive group". WV MetroNews. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  39. "Gazette-Mail endorses Salango for governor". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-10.
  40. Kersey, Lori. "Salango: Now is the 'perfect time' for Kanawha economic development". Charleston Gazette-Mail. Retrieved 2020-12-09.

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