Endorsements — Are they alive or dead in our West Virginia’s newspapers?

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From the origins of our Nation’s newspapers, editors have noted that their publications’ purposes are not only to inform the general public of news, but also to offer leadership when that becomes necessary. As a result, during political elections when the issues might become confusing, editors have felt that their vantage points within their communities offer another perspective on the candidates and issues facing the electorate.

In days long ago, all newspapers did this, but these days, many newspapers, like all of the radio and television stations, have taken the easy way out by not endorsing candidates for fear that it might harm their business’ advertising. So, editors today, who do make endorsements, are not the “faint of heart” and are aware that harm may come to them.

At the same time, this newspaper has made endorsements in the past, but never done so lightly or without much deep thought beforehand. In general, we will stick to our previous policy, which is fitted to our small rural area. Thus, we do not endorse local candidates — generally — because everyone knows them. We aim our favor to those on the state and national levels, where the mudslinging piles up the highest.

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Endorsed — Jim Justice for Governor

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Few candidates seeking the state’s highest public office have the vision for creating a more efficient government, a more vibrant economy and better way of life for its citizens than does Jim Justice, who is the Democrat running for governor in West Virginia.

This Raleigh County native, who now owns The Greenbrier resort, among other firms, not only saved the latter West Virginia landmark from bankruptcy, but also, since 2009, has made it thrive. His creative approach brought about a major renovation and expansion of the once ailing hotel, plus he established the Greenbrier Golf Classic, thereby vaulting the state into the prestigious PGA tour. This colorful event has drawn thousands of tourists into the state who have enjoyed both the Classic and many other treasured spots while visiting here.

But, before buying resort, he has been a longtime southern and central West Virginia businessman, as well as founder of Bluestone Farms, an agricultural business. In 1993, he succeeded his late father as president of Bluestone Industries and Bluestone Coal Corporation. Also, he developed the Stoney Brook Plantation, a large hunting and fishing preserve in Monroe County, so he’s put his money behind the 2nd Amendment’s hunters’ rights, via this enterprise.

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A people’s lawyer — Doug Reynolds for Attorney General

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Doug Reynolds, a Huntington attorney, entrepreneur and State Delegate, knows the law, business pursuits and state government. As Attorney General, this Democrat will fight the giant drug companies flooding the state with narcotics, aid businesses in excelling under the law and make our state government more citizen conscious.

A WVU College of Law graduate in 2002, this attorney general-aspirant has achieved many successes since graduation, notably being a strong proponent of small businesses, practicing law in his own firm, being managing partner of Huntington Dispatch Media and serving as Chief Executive Officer of Energy Services of America.

The fact that he heads up an energy firm loudly disproves the GOP’s allegations that he is with Mr. Obama’s Administration in opposing the coal industry, which, in America, has to be an vital part of our country’s energy mix and future.

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It’s knocking — Marcellus Shale development should create jobs in the state

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The State Legislature and governor have already considered the impact — including the pros and cons — of the impending Marcellus Gas boom on West Virginia, its environment and people.

Most importantly, the drilling uptick — when it begins — will create jobs, increased commerce and a decrease in crime. After all, much of our illegal activity is due to thefts and drug abuse, both the results of being jobless.

Hence, from what has been learned about this probable natural gas upswing, the Mountain State stands in an ideal position to take full advantage of its economic and jobs creation opportunities, if the extraction process are handled properly. Indeed, it is our understanding that this deep underground pool of gas resides under about the whole state, as well as other areas of Appalachia.

As State Delegate and Democratic Party Leader Brent Boggs (Dem.-Gilmer-Braxton) commented in a past column, the Marcellus Shale, "will be a very important development in West Virginia." He went on to report that the West Virginia University Bureau of Business and Economic Research related to legislators in 2011 that the gas industry employment jumped 34 percent between 2001 and 2009, mainly because of Marcellus drilling, which accounted for approximately 7,600 jobs.

It also contributed some $2.3 billion in business volume to the overall economy in 2009 and some $14.5 million in sales, income and business franchise taxes, the report stated. The WVU study says more than 2,800 permits have been issued in West Virginia for Marcellus wells, and drilling did happen in 45 of the 55 counties before the price of natural gas fell to record lows.

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