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 Beth Vorhees, 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. You can keep up with her work on social media through Twitter and tumblr.

During the legislative session, Ashton focuses on the state Senate, bringing daily reports from the inner-workings of the state’s upper house on West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s nightly television show The Legislature Today.  She also hosts that show, interviewing lawmakers, lobbyists and leading a roundtable discussion focused on the top stories of the week with her colleagues from the Capitol press corps.

Ashton served as the producer and host of Viewpoint, West Virginia Public Broadcasting's 10-week political talk show in the fall of 2014. The weekly hour-long program included in-depth interviews with candidates, analysis and a reporter roundtable leading up to the 2014 general election. 

Ashton has most recently received national attention for her coverage of the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in Charleston. Her work was featured on NPR's hourly newscasts, Morning Edition and All Things Considered, WBUR's Here & Now, KCRW's To The Point, the PBS NewsHour and Al Jazeera America.

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, WV, 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. She covered government for the P.I. Reed School of Journalism’s bi-weekly newscast WVU News and also served a semester as the WVPBS bureau reporter.

When she isn’t reporting, Ashton enjoys cooking and is an avid supporter of the arts, including theater, music and dance. She is a huge fan of musicals and touts her collection of Playbills from the Broadway shows she’s attended, which grew by nearly 30 in her 9 months living in New York City.
 

Ways To Connect

Perry Bennett / West Virginia Legislative Photography

A select group of West Virginia lawmakers began an arduous process Monday, combing through the state's current tax code and finding ways to bring it "into the 21st Century," as one delegate put it. 

The Joint Select Committee on Tax Reform was one of only four committees to meet during April interims, the first held under the new Republican leadership. 


Provided

Consol Energy plans to lay off some 170 natural gas workers at locations in West Virginia and Pennsylvania, according to industry blog Marcellus Drilling News.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education voted 6-2 Thursday to adopt an amended set of science standards for West Virginia schools. The amendments came at the request of Board member and previous Board President Wade Linger.

twitter.com

West Virginia Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Martirano announced Thursday the state Department of Education will take on a full review of the state’s Next Generation Content Standards for English and math.


Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

The West Virginia Board of Education and State Superintendent of Schools have denied the requests of nearly 30 counties to waive their 180 instructional day requirement.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia has been plagued for the past few years with budget deficits. To deal with the shortfalls, the governor has cut state agency budgets across the board, implemented hiring freezes and dipped into the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

This year, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin cut the House and Senate approved budget by an additional $11 million, leaving some service programs to wonder how they’ll keep their doors open. The Charleston Health Right is just one of those service programs.

The West Virginia Health Right clinic located in Charleston's East End is a free and charitable clinic that provides medical, dental and vision services to more than 15,000 uninsured and underinsured West Virginians each year. 

Provided

West Virginia’s Senators have scheduled events across the state this week while Congress is in recess.

Dave Mistich / via Tableau Public (Data from MSHA)

Sunday marked five years since a tragedy in southern West Virginia that still fills headlines across the state. Five years ago, April 5, 2010, an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch Mine near Montcoal in Raleigh County killed 29 men.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

If you live in a nine county area in southern and central West Virginia, the name Rahul Gutpa may be a familiar one. During the January 2014 water crisis, Gutpa’s name became synonymous with the term “medical monitoring,” something he fought long and hard for during the weeks some West Virginians were without clean water and in the months after.

Since, the former director of the Kanawha-Charleston and Putnam County Health Departments has taken on a new role in government. Gupta was appointed as the state’s Commissioner for the Bureau for Public Health and chief health officer in January, overseeing 130 statewide programs and some 700 employees.  

Courtesy Photo

The Commission on Presidential Debates released Wednesday the list of cities who have applied to host one of four debates in 2016. 

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

More than 150 individuals gathered in Charleston this week for a meeting that was the first of its kind.

Hosted by the Catholic Diocese of Wheeling Charleston, the day long conference brought together the state Division of Juvenile Services, Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Education with religious and community social service programs to focus on an issue that’s becoming more and more visible in West Virginia: transitioning juveniles from state custody back into their communities. 

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin signed two education bills Thursday, one meant to give some teachers a pay raise and another to put some restrictions on the state Board of Education when they take over a county school system.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has signed a bill that would scale back the Above Ground Storage Tank Act and lessen the number of tanks under state scrutiny.

The 2014 law was approved after a chemical leak tainted the drinking water supply for 300,000 people in the Kanawha Valley.

Courtesy Photo

A coalition of West Virginia groups is working to bring a presidential or vice presidential debate to the state’s capital city. 

The West Virginia Commission on Presidential Debates has spent the past six months putting together an application hundreds of pages in length detailing why Charleston is the perfect place for a 2016 debate.

In a press release Friday, Governor Tomblin announced his veto of Senate Bill 347, the Firearms Act of 2015.

Ashton Marra / West Virginia Public Broadcasting

A conference committee of seven members of the House of Delegates and seven members of the Senate began work Monday on finding compromise in their budget bills. Each chamber approved their own version of the Fiscal Year 2016 budget last week. 

At midnight on Saturday, March 14, the West Virginia Legislature adjourned its 2015 session. This post is the home for The Legislature Today's online coverage of the final day of the regular session.

We've curated this post by aggregating tweets and posting audio of important moments on the chamber floors.

Martin Valent / West Virginia Legislative Photography

Members of the Senate approved a resolution Thursday calling for a convention of states to add a balanced budget amendment to the U. S. Constitution. 

Senate Concurrent Resolution 13 was debated for days in the Senate's Judiciary Committee, and passed by the full chamber after a voice vote following hours of impassioned debate.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says he opposes a bill that would remove permit and training requirements for carrying a concealed weapon in West Virginia.  

Members of the House of Delegates approved Senate Bill 347 Thursday allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in the state. The bill as approved by the Senate would have set the age minimum at 18. 

Martin Valent / WV Legislative Photography

Senate bills that appear to have died in the House are being revived, so to speak, by Senators. Members of the Judiciary Committee made major changes to a fireworks bill Monday.

House Bill 2646 as approved by the House would allow consumer exploding or display fireworks currently banned in West Virginia to be sold at certain retail locations.

The original bill created retailer fees on top of the sales tax and dedicated 20 percent of the collections to be split between veterans programs, the state Fire Marshal’s Office and Volunteer Fire Departments.

Pages