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Pivotal changes necessary for the new year

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Can we be realistic on roads?

    Can we be realistic on roads?

    Friday, July 18 2014 7:00 AM EDT2014-07-18 11:00:54 GMT
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
    Building and maintaining roads should not be a political issue. In fact, it should be pretty straightforward. Potholes need filled, drainage ditches need cleaned, the highways need striped — while it might be painstaking and expensive, the overall concept is pretty simple.
  • Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Looking the other way perpetuates criminal politics

    Friday, July 11 2014 10:46 AM EDT2014-07-11 14:46:55 GMT
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.
    Former Mingo County Prosecutor Michael Sparks has been sentenced to 12 months in prison for his role in a political scheme that has dominated headlines for nearly a year and shined a bright light on one part of the state’s tangled web of public corruption.
  • Energy generation economy will require evolution

    Energy generation economy will require evolution

    Friday, June 27 2014 9:38 AM EDT2014-06-27 13:38:18 GMT
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed down an interesting decision in terms of what the Environmental Protection Agency can and cannot do in terms of reducing emissions at power plants and factories.
    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday handed down an interesting decision in terms of what the Environmental Protection Agency can and cannot do in terms of reducing emissions at power plants and factories.

The new year, 2014, is here. It's an election year, so it's unlikely we can expect too much from our elected leaders in Charleston over the coming months. 

That's unfortunate, because a cold, hard reality is going to be front and center this year and we're going to need some dedicated leadership to keep the state on solid financial footing. Reality of another kind may be setting in this year as well. For the first time in a very long time, this state might finally have a viable two-party system. Republicans have been asserting themselves and it's clear a once-devoted Democratic voting base is comfortable exploring new ideas.

Who can blame them? On a national level, the Democratic Party has been hijacked by the extreme left. Costly new entitlement programs, the Environmental Protection Agency's continual assault on the mining industry and the overall disconnect between Washington and West Virginia have left many with the feeling the Mountain State has been marginalized. Here at home, so many voters are losing patience with the majority party at the statehouse — a group that far too often puts the special interests above good governance and is not doing much to spur an economy that fails to produce sustained prosperity.

Some have described this pivot away from the Democratic Party in more substantial terms. Just this week, Chris Hansen, campaign manager for the U.S. Senate campaign of Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., told the New York Times that the upcoming political shift is like "a dam ready to break." We hope he's correct. Whatever side of the aisle you identify with, nothing motivates elected officials quite like the thought of competition.

For far too long, elected office has been seen as a birthright. The state has a pitiful history of political graft and corruption. Sadly, as we have seen in Mingo County, new chapters are being added to this book. Dismissive of the voters and the privilege that accompanies public trust, those who abuse their office clearly never felt much need to move the state forward. Hopefully, that is changing. Hopefully, we're on the cusp of a new day where those fortunate to receive our vote understand their obligations. This state does not need more of the same. we need new fresh ideas and elected officials at every level who look past the spoils of their post and see a West Virginia fighting to join the rest of the country. Quite simply, we need men and women who put our state first.