Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Editorials

September 25, 2011

Endorsement: Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin, W.Va.’s gubernatorial election

Voters in West Virginia face a crucial decision Oct. 4 when they choose the next governor of the Mountain State.

After careful deliberation and debate, we endorse acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for governor. Both Tomblin, and Republican Bill Maloney, 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, campaign mudslinging in a race that is getting uglier by the day, redistricting,  unemployment and a host of other topics.

While both candidates have similar ideologies, including fierce opposition to new federal EPA regulations that threaten the future of coal, it is Tomblin’s record of proven leadership and experience that puts him in the best position to move the Mountain State forward in the tough economic times ahead.

During his brief tenure as acting governor, Tomblin has kept the state in the black on sound financial ground.

As a native of Logan County, he 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.

Under Tomblin’s tenure, West Virginia is one of only a handful of states to end the fiscal year with a surplus, while also maintaining a positive bond rating. Tomblin has started the process of eliminating the sales tax on food, and has been successful in attracting new jobs to the Mountain State, including a new Macy’s distribution center.

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 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 Oct. 4. 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 by working with federal lawmakers, and fellow governors, who are also concerned about the out-of-control EPA.

For these reasons we endorse Tomblin for governor. When voters cast a ballot on Oct. 4, we urge them to cast a ballot for Tomblin.

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