Will state’s educators remember in November?

September 23, 2018

Will they actually “remember in November”? And if they “remember in November,” will that be enough motivation to move state and school personnel to the polls?

Judging from crowds attending boisterous rallies held by these groups and others in sympathy with them, many of us have our doubts about this November thing. As I noted earlier, one could sense little enthusiasm and, instead, desperation, when union groups met at Racine on Labor Day.

To be sure, there are still a few Democratic Socialist candidates who apparently cannot speak without screaming, but loudness does not necessarily translate into enthusiasm.

There are also backdoor whispers about some employees getting larger raises than they were entitled to (I’m not sure how that could happen) with others shortchanged. Many criticize the limited size of the raises.

On a completely different subject, if the state could manage to pay millions of dollars in rent on a building it had moved out of and given proper notice, I suppose it should be easy to manipulate pay raises.

One political expert reasoned with me that 40 percent of teachers are Republicans and many of those are not inclined to swallow the Democrat line that it was only D’s who got the pay raise through.

My guess, at this point, is that turnout will not exceed usual off-year numbers by much and there will be no blue tidal wave in West Virginia.

Some are swayed by former Clay County Democrat Delegate David Walker’s appeal that fellow a Clay Countian, Republican Speaker Roger Hanshaw, will go down to defeat in November. Walker is taking on Hanshaw for the third time and the 2016 result was razor-thin for Hanshaw. Walker says he is running stronger this time and will “retire” Speaker Hanshaw after just a little more than three months on the job.

Hanshaw was elected speaker when former Speaker Tim Armstead resigned to run for the Supreme Court.

A writer admitted the other day that Rep./Supreme Court candidate Evan Jenkins “might” have trouble with Code of Judicial Conduct Canon 4. “Might” is a mild term.

Since Jenkins accepted a nomination from Gov. Jim Justice to fill a Supreme Court vacancy and then explained he would not immediately resign from Congress, I have been questioning that decision. He is also running to complete the unexpired term on the court.

Congressional seats are clearly partisan, and Jenkins was a Republican when last we checked. The judicial branch, including the Supreme Court, is supposed to be non-partisan. My question is who we were dealing with at the President Trump rally in Charleston recently: Rep. Jenkins, the Republican official; or Supreme Court nominee and candidate Jenkins, non-partisan.

To this point, Jenkins has ignored the question. But Canon 4 reinforces it. The canon begins with this admonition: “A judge or candidate for judicial office shall not engage in political or campaign activity that is inconsistent with the independence, integrity, or impartiality of the judiciary.”

How’s that? Rep. Jenkins sits every day in a chair reserved for a Republican member of the House; he caucuses with Republicans; he attends rallies like the Trump event as a sitting Republican congressman. How can he be impartial?

The first item listed under “a judge or a judicial candidate shall not ...” is “act as a leader in, or hold an office in, a political organization.” How can the Republican congressman from the 3rd District avoid that? The House is a political organization.

Jenkins says he will resign when he actually takes the oath of office. It appears to me that the code of conduct, judicial ethics and fairness to the public all require that he do it now.

Nate Silver’s calculations still do not spell good news for Democrat State Sen. Richard Ojeda. Silver, nationally renowned for his accuracy, says the odds are 93.4 percent to 6.6 percent in favor of Republican Carol Miller in the 3rd Congressional District. Silver says, if held today, the results would be Miller, 57 to 43 percent.

There was a huge crowd at the Charleston Marriott for U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s campaign kickoff last week. Impressive indeed was the large numbers of Republicans who attended.

Contact Ron Gregory at 304-533-5185 or ronjgregory@gmail.com.

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