On Friday, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Gregory L. Boso, of Summersville, to represent residents of the 11th District in the West Virginia Senate. Boso’s appointment fills the vacancy created when Senator Clark Barnes resigned to serve as Senate Clerk. The appointment was effective immediately.
Boso graduated from West Virginia Institute of Technology in 1980 and has worked as a design civil engineer and engineering project manager. He currently works as a forensic engineer for cases in Kentucky and West Virginia, and is the president of the Summersville engineering firm G.L. Boso & Associates, Inc.
The new senator is a member of the National Society of Professional Engineers, National Academy of Forensic Engineers, American Society of Civil Engineers and the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers. He is a deacon and member of the Summersville Baptist Church. Boso has held several positions with the Summersville Fire Department, including chaplain, Lieutenant, Fire Prevention Officer, Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief. He resides in Summersville with his wife, Deborah.
Boso spoke with The Pocahontas Times shortly after his appointment on Friday. The senator plans to utilize his engineering problem-solving in Charleston.
“I’ll be honest,” he said. “I’m a novice from the political side of things. I have no preset agendas. I don’t have any preset practices that I do. My background is as a forensic engineer. Over the last seven, eight, 10 years, I’ve been doing forensic engineering. One of the things that I’ve learned in that process is that I need to be one who sits down and takes all the information in, look at the facts, before I make any rash decisions or have any preset judgment.
“I have to do that primarily because, as a forensic engineer, I’m an educator of the court. I’m not one who goes in with an agenda or preconceived notion about what actually happened. I have to think about it, have some hypotheses, test those against the data and the evidence that is available and make a reasonable calculated judgment. Sometimes, it’s a slam dunk. Sometimes, we have to reason against what we see with a high degree of probability.”
Boso identified prevailing wages and jobs as his top priorities.
“One of the priorities that I have, that is a bill already on the floor in the Senate, Senate Bill 100, which modifies the way that prevailing wages are calculated,” he said. “There are rumors afoot that they wanted to quash prevailing wages entirely.
“The way our current prevailing wage provisions are structured is unfair. It’s unfair for us to come into rural counties and rural communities, where the average wage is $20 to $25 an hour for a carpenter or a tradesperson, and for people to have to dig deep in their pockets to pay a premium wage rate for work that’s being done in their communities, when the law only requires to be paid a prevailing wage.”
The senator wants to create more local jobs in the 11th District.
“One of the other concerns that I have is how we can build jobs within our district,” he said. “As many of us know, the family is taking a big hit these days. In many two-working-parent families, one parent is frequently working an hour to an hour-and-a-half away from home and they’re working nine to 10 hour days. From the public policy perspective – I’m a volunteer firefighter and there’s a big burden on volunteer departments to be able to support what they do to take care of people in their communities. So, we’ve got to find some ways to keep people closer to home.”
Boso is a sports fan and referees high school soccer matches. He was a spectator at sectional soccer matches between the Pocahontas County Warriors and the Nicholas County Grizzlies on October 23.
West Virginia’s newest senator did not have a calling for politics. Rather, it was people calling him who convinced him to submit his name for the appointment.
“I was called and recruited to serve,” he said. “If it were not for some phone calls, I probably would not have put my name out there. Some people here in the area thought that I would be a competent candidate. We considered it and recognized that there would be some challenges. But my wife and I prayed about it and felt that it would be the right thing to do, and it’s the right time to do it. It made logical sense to make a jump.”