Ashton Marra

Assistant News Director, Statehouse Reporter

Ashton Marra is the Assistant News Director at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, coordinating the coverage of her fellow reporters under News Director Jesse Wright, and serves as the producer for the morning news magazine West Virginia Morning. She also serves as the fill-in host of the program.

Ashton covers the Capitol for West Virginia Public Broadcasting and can be heard weekdays on West Virginia Morning with the latest statehouse news, from politics to policy and everything in between.

During the legislative session, Ashton hosts West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s nightly television show The Legislature Today. She also reports from the Senate, bringing daily reports from the inner-workings of the state’s upper house.

Ashton served as the producer and host of Viewpoint, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's 10-week political podcast fall of 2016 focused on the General Election. 

Ashton is the winner of two 2016 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for her work producing West Virginia Morning and covering the decline of the state's coal industry. She was also named the 2015 and 2016 "Outstanding Reporter of the Virginias" by the Virginias Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

Ashton's work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered and Weekend Edition, PBS NewsHour, WBUR’s Here & Now, WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show, KCRW’s To the Point and other programs.

Ashton came to WVPBS in October of 2012 from ABC News’ morning program Good Morning America where she worked as a production associate. Ashton produced pieces for the broadcast, including the first identified victim of the Aurora, CO, movie theater shooting and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, as well as multiple entertainment news stories.

Before her time at GMA, Ashton worked as an intern on ABC’s news assignment desk, helping to organize coverage of major news stories like the Trayvon Martin case, the Jerry Sandusky trial and the 2012 Presidential election. She also spent 18 months as a weekend reporter for WDTV based in her hometown of Clarksburg, W.Va., breaking the story of missing Lewis County toddler Aliayah Lunsford. Ashton’s work from that story was featured on HLN’s Nancy Grace in October of 2011.

Ashton graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University in May of 2012, where she was named WVU’s Reporter of the Year. 

 

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Glynis Board / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Damage totals from July’s flooding in northern and north central West Virginia are continuing to rise.

The state Division of Highways says road damage in 12 counties has reached nearly $13 million.

Tripadvisor.com

Six men in central West Virginia were arrested by federal immigration officers during a raid last week.

The federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, known as ICE, conducted the raid at Los Agaves Mexican Restaurant in Dunbar Thursday, August 3. 

Marshall University

The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University has been awarded a new residency program, set to begin next summer. 

Marshall’s School of Medicine announced Wednesday its accreditation for a new neurology residency training program. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Jim Justice officially returned to the state’s Republican Party Friday afternoon.

The change came less than 24 hours after the governor announced his intention to flip parties during a Donald Trump campaign rally.

Darron Cummings / AP Photo

Democratic Gov. Jim Justice's announcement that he was switching parties came around 7:30 Thursday night, but word of his departure had already been leaked to national outlets like The New York Times and the Associated Press, and it wasn't long before members of both parties from the top down made their thoughts about the decision known.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice takes the podium during a campaign rally for President Donlad J. Trump Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Huntington, W.Va.
Kara Lofton / West Virginia Pubic Broadcasting

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he is switching party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

 

Justice made the announcement during a campaign rally held Thursday night in Huntington for President Donald Trump.

Steve Helber / AP Photo

Pres. Donald Trump's Thursday campaign rally in Huntington is expected to draw thousands of not just Trump supporters from the tri-state area, but also protestors.

While the city doesn’t have any say in what goes on inside the event, they are responsible for what happens outside, where tensions could run high.

West Virginia Governor's Office

State officials and emergency responders are beginning to tally up the damage from flooding that hit northern and north central communities late last week and over the weekend.

The Division of Highways said Tuesday its assessing road damage in 11 counties in the region. The agency estimates 200 roads suffered some kind of damage in the July 28 and 29 storms, totaling nearly $7 million.

West Virginia Governor's Office

As the 2017 National Boy Scout Jamboree continued in West Virginia Tuesday, members of the organization were joined by Gov. Jim Justice to dedicate their welcome center.

Justice used the ribbon cutting ceremony Tuesday afternoon to share a story about his interaction with President Donald Trump who made his first visit in office to West Virginia Monday.

Carolyn Kaster / AP Photos

President Donald Trump brought Washington politics to West Virginia Monday, speaking to a crowd of about 40,000 boy scouts and volunteers at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean for the 2017 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree. 

Trump is the eigth president to attend a jamboree, which occurs every four years, and the first to attend the event since it found a permanent home in West Virginia, in 2013. 

Courtesy Boy Scouts of America

Tens of thousands of boy scouts are making their way to southern West Virginia Wednesday for the start of their national jamboree, but preparations began long before a single scout sets foot on site.

Planning for the 2017 Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree began almost four years ago, immediately following the first jamboree held at the Summit Bechtel National Reserve. 

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice said Monday he’ll use a portion of his own contingency fund to pay for a service program conducted by the Boy Scouts of America during their upcoming Jamboree, but is blaming lawmakers for not including the money in the 2018 budget.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the special session of the West Virginia Legislature this year was supposed to be focused on one thing—putting together a budget for the 2018 fiscal year, but over the course of several weeks, lawmakers spent most of their time debating a separate issue: tax reform.

It turns out, West Virginia wasn’t the only state having the conversation about changing its tax code this year. In fact, 23 states attempted to make changes specifically to taxes charged on services. 

Fæ / wikimedia Commons

Members of the West Virginia National Guard as well as guardsmen and women from other states are preparing for thousands of Boy Scouts to descend on southern West Virginia.

The National Guard is working with both military and civilian members of the federal Department of Defense to prepare for the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree that begins next week.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, the coal industry in West Virginia has been struggling, but over the past several months, revenues from coal severance taxes have increased for the state. That’s because of increased demand overseas, says West Virginia University Research Assistant Professor Brian Lego.

Lego is a member of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research team that recently released its annual report predicting the future of the industry. He discussed the report with Ashton Marra.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The Governor’s Office says the state technically ended the previous fiscal year in the black last month, but there is already a deficit in fiscal year 2018. 

The new budget year officially began July 1—less than two weeks ago—and the state is already $11 million short.

West Virginia Governor's Office

The bickering that has persisted at the statehouse since the end of the special session between Gov. Jim Justice and legislative leaders continued at the Capitol Wednesday, this time over restrooms.

Justice’s Office sent another statement Wednesday morning - one of many released over the past few weeks - criticizing members of the Legislature for their funding priorities.

A report from CNBC released Tuesday calls West Virginia the "worst state for business in 2017," thanks to declines in state GDP in 2016. West Virginia was 1 of only 7 states to experience economic contraction last year, according to the report.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Nimish Metha has been a pediatric emergency medicine doctor at Women and Children’s Hospital in Charleston for more than 16 years.

Kara Lofton talked with Metha about what it’s like to work in the ER, what items he wouldn’t have in his own home after seeing children come into the hospital with injuries and how he’s seen the opioid epidemic impact the pediatric population.

Glenville State College

This year’s state budget included more than $16 million in cuts to higher education institutions, forcing many schools to raise tuition and fees. But Glenville State College is trying to buck that trend.

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