Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


November 8, 2012

A time to heal Region, nation must move forward

It is finally over. All of the negativity. All of the mudslinging. All of the finger pointing. Today is a new day for America. Today we must begin the long but necessary process of healing our deep partisan divides. We must let go of the hatred. We must come together again as neighbors and as proud Americans.

Admittedly, it won’t be easy. Washington is still divided. Republicans still control the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats still control the U.S. Senate. And President Barack Obama will continue to serve as the commander in chief of our great nation for another four years.

The news on the presidential front isn’t particularly great for the coalfields of southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. The war on coal will now undoubtedly continue, and other fossil fuels could be threatened. We can expect to see more wind turbines — whether we want them or not. But we must find a way to endure. We must trust that those who we have elected —  Democrat Tim Kaine, Republican Morgan Griffith, Democrat Joe Manchin, Democrat Nick Rahall and Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin — will fight or continue to fight for the best interests of the coalfield counties.

Manchin — a Democrat who is never afraid to speak his mind — is now calling upon Obama to embark on a 50-state tour to heal partisan divisions. That sounds like a good idea to us. Manchin is also urging his fellow lawmakers in Washington to work across the party aisle on common-sense solutions to the problems facing the nation. That will be an absolute necessity if we are to break the deep partisan divide that has crippled Washington in recent months.

Tuesday’s election may not have ended the way many in our region would have liked. But no one should hold his or her head down. In defeat, there is also victory. We, as a region, sent a message — loud and clear — to Washington as well as Charleston. And our message was heard. After all, most if not all of the politicians on the ballot Tuesday pledged to this newspaper that they would fight for coal, and other fossil fuels, when they head to Washington. Now we must hold them to their word.

We also elected strong new leaders on the local level. And that’s critically important.

In fact, area voters put a significant dent in the one-party system that has dominated West Virginia for so many years. Republicans nearly erased the Democrat’s 15-seat majority in West Virginia’s House of Delegates — giving the GOP at least 44 seats in the 100-member House — and Republicans also gained three more seats in the state Senate. Now Democrats will have to work with Republicans in Charleston for the betterment of West Virginia as a whole.

The new leaders elected right here in Mercer County put us in a better position to diversify our economy — to fight for new manufacturing jobs, new high-tech jobs, new retail jobs and new tourism growth. With hope, we will now have local leaders who are willing to dream — and fight to bring those dreams to fruition.

We are in a better position today — thanks to the thousands across the region who voted for change Tuesday — to better our area. For that, we say thank you, and we applaud and congratulate every registered voter who cast a ballot on Tuesday.

Your voice was heard. You did make a difference. America — and our region as a whole — is stronger today because of you.

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