Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

September 15, 2013

Two Bluefields: Regional cooperation is key

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

— — If there is one thing this newspaper has strongly advocated in recent years, it is regional cooperation. What exactly is regional cooperation? It is a simple concept. Area towns, cities and counties working together toward common goals and shared objectives.

Bluefield working with Princeton. Princeton working with Bluefield. Bramwell and Bluewell uniting on projects. Mercer County and Tazewell County coming together on an enterprise. The state line should not be viewed as a stumbling block toward such regional cooperation. And a perfect example of this is the city of Bluefield, and the town of Bluefield, Va.

Unfortunately, the two Bluefields have not had a joint meeting in nearly four years. That’s why members of the Bluefield, Va., Town Council acted quickly and correctly in scheduling a meeting with the five newly elected members of the Bluefield Board of Directors. The joint session has been set for Thursday, Sept. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Fincastle on the Mountain.

We would encourage all localities in the area to work together for the betterment of our region. We are stronger as a whole when our cities, towns, communities and counties work together and speak in a unified voice. And there is certainly no reason why our towns, cities and counties can’t work together on regional projects.

It wasn’t that many years ago that former West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin and former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine worked to establish legislation in their respective states to allow for such regional projects between southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia. Manchin and Kaine are now members of the U.S. Senate.

We believe there is certainly much the two Bluefields can accomplish by working together.

“This is a more or less a get to know each other type of situation,” Bluefield, Va. Mayor Don Harris said of the first planned meeting. “And while we have no particular agenda for discussion, this is just going to be a friendly meeting between the two communities. So basically what we are doing is extending the olive branch out to our newly elected city officials in Bluefield, W.Va., as I did when they had their first city board meeting. We are very optimistic that the two communities can really work together on a lot of joint issues.”

“I think the olive branch he (Harris) extended was well received,” Bluefield Mayor Tom Cole added. “And we are all looking forward to it. We have a state line that divides us and our concerns are the exact same. We do have a lot of common interests with the sanitary board. We have a lot of the same interests, and other than the state line, it is one big community.”

We agree with both Harris and Cole. There is much work that can and should be done. It’s time for the two Bluefields to sit down and start talking. And the same goes for localities across our region. We are much stronger as a region when we work together in a unified voice.