Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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October 29, 2012

Endorsement: Governor of West Virginia, Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin

Voters in the Mountain State will have to choose between two familiar names Nov. 6 in the race for governor of West Virginia.

In a repeat of the special 2011 gubernatorial election, incumbent Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin is once again being challenged by Republican Bill Maloney. Both candidates were recently interviewed by members of the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board where they were questioned on a number of topics, including the future of coal, infrastructure, job creation in southern West Virginia, prison overcrowding, the state’s drug problem and other related issues.

As was the case two years ago, both candidates have similar ideologies, including welcomed opposition to new federal EPA regulations that threaten the future of coal. After careful consideration and debate, we endorse Tomblin for re-election as governor of West Virginia.

Tomblin already has a proven record of leadership and experience that puts him in the best position to keep moving the Mountain State forward. During his short but effective tenure as governor, Tomblin has helped keep the state on solid financial ground. He appears to have a firm grasp and understanding of the current challenges facing the deep south counties — Mercer and McDowell in particular. And he’s working to develop solutions. For example, Tomblin has vowed to help correct the chronic flooding problem that has plagued the Stafford Drive area of Princeton, and he is pledging to prioritize the construction of the King Coal Highway in Mercer County and the Coalfields Expressway in McDowell County when future federal highway funds are released by Washington. He also has taken an active role in fighting the war on coal, and challenging the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

As a native of Logan County, Tomblin comes from a coal-producing county and understands the unique challenges faced by the deep south counties. He also knows how to work with fellow lawmakers to get things accomplished. He’s kept his pledge to help eliminate the sales tax on food, and has been successful in his short term to date as governor in attracting new jobs to the Mountain State. Yes, there is much work to be done — particularly right here in southern West Virginia. But we believe Tomblin — particularly with his understanding of southern West Virginia — should be in a good position to help the region in the months ahead.

Before assuming the governor’s post, Tomblin served six years in the House of Delegates from 1974 to 1980 when he was first elected to the state Senate. Tomblin worked his way up through the Senate ranks, served as majority whip and chairman of the Senate Energy, Industry and Mining Committee, and later became chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He was elected president of the Senate on Jan. 11, 1995, and served in that post longer than anyone in the state’s history. Tomblin assumed the governor’s post in 2010 after Joe Manchin was elected to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of the late Robert C. Byrd.

Tomblin is a proven and effective leader. His experience, and his proven leadership, shouldn’t be overlooked by voters on Nov. 6.  Despite sharing the same political party affiliation of President Barack Obama, Tomblin has fought the EPA, and is continuing to fight to protect West Virginia coal mining jobs against an out-of-control EPA.

For these reasons we endorse Tomblin for governor. When voters cast a ballot on Nov. 6, we urge them to vote for Tomblin.


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