West Virginians need to take action at the ballot box - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

West Virginians need to take action at the ballot box

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  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:24 GMT
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
  • Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Diversifying our economy will make it more resilient

    Friday, August 8 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-08-08 10:00:18 GMT
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.
    We have been hit hard with some tough economic news in recent days about our state’s most recognized industry. We learned that Alpha Natural Resources could lay off more than 1,000 workers later this year. Another report showed that it is becoming cheaper for domestic energy producers to import coal from other countries than to use what is mined in the U.S.

West Virginia is, once again, out of step with the rest of the nation. As usual, we seem to be maintaining our nearly unshakable perch high atop the bad lists and staying firmly rooted at or near the bottom of all the good lists.

This time the subject matter is what’s commonly known as food stamps.

More and more state residents are receiving aid through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. This is in direct contrast to what’s happening across the nation.

It seems like every week we fill this page with sad tales of how this state is being swallowed up by poverty. The economy remains stagnant, our bedrock industries have fallen on hard times and now that tax revenues from gambling are drying up, our lawmakers are being forced to deal with red ink for the first time in years.

Again, we ask what has to happen for our elected leaders to wake up and do something? What else has to go wrong? More and more of us are having trouble feeding ourselves; yet when the lawmakers come to Charleston, the House of Delegates and West Virginia Senate develop new, creative ways to waste time and resources. Like Nero, they fiddle while Rome burns.

We can no longer afford the status quo. As the next election season draws near, we urge voters to look beyond incumbency or party affiliation. Select the candidate who has new ideas and a willingness to work for something other than special interests. This state does not have to crumble. We have so much going for us — not the least of which is a natural gas play that could, if done right and with the proper leadership in place, transform the state in amazing ways. But nothing is going to happen until we say “enough is enough” and make our voices heard at the ballot box.

If we do not step up and pick candidates who are actually going to fight for what’s right, then we shoulder some of the blame. We need men and women who welcome sustainable, lasting investment and do all they can to keep it and who put fairness above all else in our courts and prepare our young people for life in the 21st Century. Nothing will happen overnight, but a future where our kids and grandkids can actually make a life in this state is a possibility. To make that happen, we need people who see beyond federal aid and dependency — we need people determined to work for a better West Virginia.