Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

January 3, 2014

Day of service: Helping others in Virginia

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Gov.-elect Terry McAuliffe is asking Virginians to spend a day helping their individual communities and others in need. Saturday’s day of service proclamation is a part of McAuliffe’s inaugural events. McAuliffe, Lt. Gov.-elect Ralph S. Northam and Attorney General-elect Mark R. Herring will all take the oath of office on Jan. 11. The day also marks a transformation of political power in Virginia from a Republican-controlled administration to that of a Democratic governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general. Anytime you have a changing of an administration, there is a sense of renewed hope for the future. However, McAuliffe’s controversial campaign trail support last year of President Barack Obama’s new federal Environmental Protection Agency rules — measures that seek to limit carbon emissions from gas- or coal-fired power plants — would appear to put the new administration at direct odds with many in the coalfield counties of Southwest Virginia. But McAuliffe is still the new governor-elect of Virginia. He deserves a chance to prove himself, and the benefit of time to determine whether a McAuliffe administration will be a friend of or stumbling block for Southwest Virginia. And while relatively simple at its very core, the day of service request by McAuliffe is a good idea, and it is something that everyone across the state can and should participate in. The inauguration website,, lists opportunities across Virginia that are searchable by ZIP code, the Associated Press reported. McAuliffe says he is hoping Virginians across the state can come together — at least for one day — to help one another as part of the day of service. And that is something we all can certainly do, including right here in the coalfields of Southwest Virginia. Incoming first lady Dorothy McAuliffe is asking Virginians “to lend a hand to those in need” in a letter posted on the inaugural site. “It could be as simple as taking an hour of your day to pick up some trash by the James River, or volunteering at a local food kitchen to help the hungry,” she writes on the website. It is our hope that folks across the region will participate in Saturday’s day of service activities. And while a search by this newspaper for specific day of service activities within 50 miles of the town of Tazewell netted only a single event for the Abingdon area, it is important to remember that we don’t need specific assignments from Richmond when it comes to helping those in need or bettering our neighborhoods. Let’s put our political differences aside — if only for a single day — and help better our communities, assist our neighbors in need and work toward the greater good of the Commonwealth of Virginia.