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. 

 

Ways to Connect

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, most of the state’s trees are harvested by small-scale logging operations, like the one owned by Scotty Cook in Elkins.  

Producer Jean Snedegar joins Cook on his latest job in a remote area of southern Randolph County.  

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education has voted a second time against consolidating schools in Nicholas County.

The vote came one day before a court hearing in a lawsuit against the state over the first vote.

Liz McCormick / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

With 15 months to go until Election Day, yet another candidate has added his name to the list of those vying for Democrat Joe Manchin's seat in the U.S. Senate.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders held two health care rallies Sunday in Covington, Kentucky and Morgantown, West Virginia, telling attendees to put pressure on their state representatives to vote against the GOP health care plans.

Kara Lofton spoke with Sanders about his visits and what he thinks the proposed legislation would mean for Appalachia. 

Will Price / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Dozens of new laws took effect in West Virginia Friday, three months after the end of the state’s regular Legislative session. 

AP Photos

A day after announcing she could not support the Senate Republican-backed healthcare overhaul plan, West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito said Wednesday she will offer her own changes to the bill which she thinks could make it more palatable in West Virginia.

Marshall University
Wikipedia / en.wikipedia.org

Two West Virginia universities will be increasing tuition for students after significant cuts from the state Legislature.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice has signed legislation allowing the West Virginia Parkways Authority to increase the tolls on the state turnpike and create a new single fee program in the name of a bond to fund new road projects in southern West Virginia.

The bill is part of his roads package, a set of bills and bond initiatives that will boost revenue for road maintenance and construction and in turn, according to the governor, create jobs.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Both of West Virginia’s U.S. Senators have now announced their opposition to a federal healthcare bill that could result in the loss of healthcare coverage for millions of Americans. 

Republican Sen. Shelley Moore Capito announced Tuesday afternoon in a press release she is a no vote on the bill. The statement came after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced earlier in the day he would delay a vote of the full Senate until after the 4th of July holiday.

Jesse Wright / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Jim Justice said the legislatively approved budget for the 2018 fiscal year will become law without his signature. 

“I can’t sign this. I can’t possibly sign this," Justice said.

Joe Manchin
AP / Steve Helber

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is calling on Republican members of the U.S. Senate to open up their meetings about the new health care law, which is expected to be put to a vote in Congress before their July break. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the House are not budging on reforming the state’s tax code the way Gov. Jim Justice and now Senators on both sides of the aisle want to.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate have approved a budget for the upcoming fiscal year -- for a second time this week.

 

The bill they approved Tuesday contains no new revenue for 2018 and makes major cuts to both higher education and Medicaid in order to find a balance, but the new version of the budget bill approved Thursday night is accompanied by yet another tax reform bill that now has bi-partisan support in the state’s upper chamber.

West Virginia Morning
West Virginia Public Broadcasting

On this West Virginia Morning, Gov. Jim Justice is still pushing lawmakers to approve some kind of revenue increasing measure to prevent major cuts in the 2018 budget. 

That push, though, comes as members of the House and Senate are debating budget bills based solely on a newly released revenue estimate, not tax reform proposals that were once at the center of budget negotiations.

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice said Wednesday the budget proposals being considered in both the House and Senate are wrong for West Virginia and will result in major cuts that hurt vulnerable citizens, but with a deadline to approve a budget in time to avoid a government shutdown quickly approaching, Justice said he would consider signing the budget sent to him. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Wednesday, members of the House of Delegates approved their own version of a budget for the upcoming 2018 fiscal year—a budget that, much like the one approved earlier in the week in the Senate, does not include any new revenue from various tax reform measures debated between the two chambers for weeks.

Instead, the House used the increased revenue estimate sent this week by Gov. Jim Justice’s Office to members of the Senate as the base for its $4.225 billion budget.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

After yet another day of back and forth between the House and Senate, Speaker Tim Armstead says lawmakers are now close to an agreement on the 2018 budget.

And that agreement could likely come without the passage of any tax reform measures. 

West Virginia Governor's Office

Gov. Jim Justice sat the head of a long table in his conference room Monday afternoon, surrounded by reporters and members of his staff. It’s the same room that nearly three months ago Justice declared his budget war room, inviting members of the Legislature to join him and his staff each morning to hammer out a deal.

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of a legislative conference committee will continue their work Monday, trying to come to an agreement over tax reform. The conference committee was assembled Wednesday and, according to Legislative rules, must finish their work by Saturday, but lawmakers voted to suspend those rules Friday, allowing the committee to meet over the weekend. 

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Gov. Jim Justice took questions from a legislative conference committee Thursday that is working on a compromised version of his tax reform plan, a rare appearance at the statehouse.

Pages