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Local voters retain their representation at Capitol

November 9, 2018

If there is a swamp to be drained at the West Virginia State Capitol Complex, you might not know it from this week’s election results. Although some legislators in other parts of the state were voted out of office, voters in this area were pleased enough with their representatives to send them back to Charleston.

In Cabell and Wayne counties, all members of the House of Delegates and the state Senate who sought re-election were rewarded with a majority of voters’ support. That list is composed of senators Mike Woelfel, Mark Maynard and Ron Stollings, and Delegates Sean Hornbuckle, Chad Lovejoy and Matt Rohrbach from Cabell County and Delegates Robert Thompson and Ken Hicks in Wayne County. That list is a mix of Republicans and Democrats, so whatever blue or red wave washed over national politics skipped this part of West Virginia.

Two newcomers will represent this area in the Legislature, those being John Mandt and Evan Worrell, both of whom are Republicans from Cabell County. They ran for seats in which the incumbents, both Republicans, did not seek re-election.

The blend of Democratic and Republican representation from this area is good because most of the problems we face here are not partisan in nature. Sure, the two parties have different philosophies when it comes to taxes, regulations and environmental matters. Those, however, are not the problems that have overwhelmed this area in recent years. Here we, as many areas through the state and the nation do, are still coping with the opioid epidemic.

There isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) a Republican or a Democratic solution to the problem of drug abuse. Partisan politics didn’t create that problem, and solutions won’t be found in the partisan realm. Our legislators have shown they can cross the aisle to work on this, and we expect them to continue to do so.

If local voters had any dissatisfaction with state government, it was found in the large support for Amendment 2 to the state constitution. The amendment gives the Legislature a bit of control over the state Supreme Court’s spending. It won’t prevent the justices from spending small fortunes on redecorating their offices, but it will provide enough accountability for the justices to ponder their spending decisions more carefully.

Then there’s Amendment 1, which addressed the issue of abortion. It passed, so now the question will be what the Legislature does regarding state funding for abortions — if the Legislature decides to do anything. It might or it might not. We may have to wait until the regular session begins in January.

Speaking of January, the majority leaders in both houses were defeated in their re-election bids. Sen. Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, and Delegate Riley Moore, R-Jefferson, both lost to Democratic challengers. Several other Republican legislators lost re-election bids. It wasn’t enough to give Democrats control of either house, but it did chip into the GOP’s majorities heading into the 2020 election.

When it comes to looking ahead to 2020, let’s not. There’s enough to sort through with this election. The professional politicians can begin planning for 2020. The rest of us need a short break so we can go to the mailbox or watch a You-Tube video without being bombarded by election ads.

It was an interesting election, but we’re glad it’s behind us. Thanksgiving is coming.

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