Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

October 22, 2013

Endorsement: James W. ‘Will’ Morefield, Va.’s 3rd District House of Delegates

— — Two men are vying Nov. 5 for a seat in Virginia’s 3rd District House of Delegates contest.

Incumbent Delegate James W. “Will” Morefield, R-Tazewell, is being challenged by Democrat James M. O’Quinn in the delegate district contest that includes the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Russell and Tazewell. Both men were interviewed last week by members of the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board where they were questioned on a wealth of issues of concern to voters in Southwest Virginia.

After careful consideration and debate, we unanimously endorse Morefield for re-election.

A vocal voice and leader for Southwest Virginia, Morefield understands the unique challenges facing the coalfield communities, and he has an impressive record of fighting for the region.

Morefield, a small business owner in Tazewell County, currently serves on the Counties, Cities and Towns subcommittee, the Militia Police and Public Safety subcommittee and the Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources subcommittee. If re-elected he will be the third ranking member on the Coal and Energy committee — and in a greater position to help the district.

Although youthful at age 29, Morefield has evolved into a capable and vocal leader for Southwest Virginia during his time in the General Assembly. And he’s gained a welcomed reputation as a state lawmaker who isn’t afraid to fight and actively campaign against federal issues that impact Southwest Virginia — including President Barack Obama’s destructive war on coal.

More state lawmakers — both in Virginia and West Virginia — should follow Morefield’s lead when it comes to fighting Washington on the state level.

Morefield has also demonstrated a willingness and ability to cross the political aisle in order to garner support for Southwest Virginia — a welcomed ability in light of the current state of partisan dysfunction in Washington. And Morefield also is actively involved in ongoing efforts aimed at attracting jobs to his district — once again something we also would like to see out of more lawmakers in both Richmond and Charleston. Morefield just recently completed a tour of Israel and is currently working to attract an Israel-based food-production company to Southwest Virginia.

O’Quinn, a retired correctional officer who also served six years in the United States Army, is a political novice. He does have strong family ties to the coal industry with both his father and grandfather working in the coal mines. He comes across as a likable candidate.

However, we see no reason to reverse course in Virginia’s 3rd Delegate District.

We endorse Morefield based upon his experience, his proven record and his willingness to fight for what is right for Southwest Virginia. We believe it is imperative that we retain Morefield’s strong voice for the 3rd delegate district in Richmond.

When voters in Southwest Virginia cast a ballot on Nov. 5, we urge them to vote for Morefield.

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