Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

February 14, 2013

Self-promoting trinkets

Morrisey’s ban welcomed

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — Former West Virginia Attorney General Darrell McGraw was notorious for his trinket chest — a practice that political opponents argued was used to increase his name recognition among voters. New state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is now correctly vowing to make those self-promoting trinkets a thing of the past.

Without mentioning McGraw by name, Morrisey appeared to be referring to his Democratic predecessor during a press conference Tuesday when he displayed six boxes of various trinkets — all bearing McGraw’s name.

“You will not see my name on the pill box, the gun lock, on the pen, the pencil, the magnet, etc.,” Morrisey told the Register-Herald in Beckley. “We’re going to be dismantling the incumbency self-promotion tools. We’re not going to allow the incumbent self-protection tools that dominate West Virginia politics. That’s coming to an end.”

While the altered policy applies only to him, the Republican attorney general who unseated McGraw last November is correctly urging other public officials to follow suit.

Morrisey still intends to issue press releases containing his name, and his office will still have business cards and envelopes also displaying his name. But that’s to be expected. If this newspaper receives a press release or a letter from the attorney general’s office, we would certainly expect to see his name on it. Pencils and pens will also still be needed in the attorney general’s office. But they won’t have the name “Morrisey” inscribed on them, according to the new attorney general.

Morrisey is also pledging to refrain from using his name or image on ads during an election year.

“The goal here is to end all these abuse practices in the past,” he states.

Educational materials coming from the attorney general’s office will not contain Morrisey’s name. “We will still have materials but the materials will not have my name emblazoned on them,” he adds. “The goal is to make the office less about me as a person and more about serving the public.”

Morrisey also plans to end the practice of using a public vehicle in a parade, and plans to ask lawmakers in the new legislative session for an expansion in the ethics law to provide more transparency in public dealings.

He specifically wants a one-year probation to keep a state employee from performing compensated work or assuming work with an entity over which he has exercised authority in contracts and grants.

He’s also sent President Barack Obama a letter asking him to keep West Virginia’s economic interests in mind before settling on a new administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency.

Morrisey is to be applauded for these long overdue and good, common-sense steps. We join him in encouraging other elected officials to follow suit.