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CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When asked about U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd's contribution to economic development in Southern West Virginia, Judy Radford didn't quite know where to start.
"The question just leaves me tongue-tied," said Radford, who heads the Beckley-based 4-C Economic Development Authority.
But after a deep breath, Radford talked about Byrd's appropriations to build four-lane highways, the Erma Byrd Center for Public Higher Education, Mountain State University's library, health centers, water lines, dams, the federal prison in Beckley and a technology business center in downtown Hinton.
"It's just on and on," said Radford, whose agency promotes economic development in Summers, Raleigh, Nicholas and Fayette counties. "He just touched so many different places trying to help. He helped create all kinds of different jobs."
And not just in the region where Byrd was born.
Bob Steptoe, chairman of the Steptoe & Johnson law firm, rattled off a list of projects that have created jobs from Clarksburg to Morgantown.
There's the FBI center with its 3,000 employees, of course. Plus, the NASA facility in Fairmont, Robert C. Byrd Institute for Flexible Manufacturing in Bridgeport, West Virginia University Health Science Center (Byrd secured funding for a trauma center named after his teenage grandson, who died in an traffic accident in 1982), Blanchette Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute (Byrd appropriated $30 million in construction funding for the center, which is named after Sen. Jay Rockefeller's mother), and the West Virginia Coal and Energy Technology center in Morgantown.