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Editorial: Tomblin has proven during tenure he's best choice to lead the state

Oct. 13, 2012 @ 11:20 PM

The past 24 months have been busy ones for West Virginia politics and Earl Ray Tomblin.

The longtime legislator and state Senate president became acting governor in the fall of 2010 when Joe Manchin won the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Robert C. Byrd.

And you might say Tomblin has been running ever since.

First in a special election primary, then a special election, then the 2012 primary and now the 2012 General Election. Tomblin not only won the first three legs of this election marathon, but he also found time to establish a solid record as governor.

With early voting for the General Election starting next week, we think the Logan County native has made it clear that once again he is the best choice for West Virginia.

Jobs and the economy are the top issues for most voters, and Tomblin already has had success in past two years attracting $5 billion in new investment and 6,500 new jobs. He also built a consensus for reasonable regulations on natural gas drilling, pushed for lower taxes and promoted West Virginia here and abroad.

Although his opponent Republican Bill Maloney has questioned Tomblin's support for coal, the industry does not see it that way. Tomblin has been endorsed by the West Virginia Coal Association, the state Chamber of Commerce and the United Mine Workers of America.

The governor also shows he understands the importance of education in economic development, nurturing a more direct link between the state's community and technical colleges and business to provide a better trained workforce. He also is planning legislation for the 2013 legislative session to address concerns outlined in the recent audit of the state's school system.

With 36 years of legislative experience, few in Charleston know the workings of state government better than Tomblin, and he has been instrumental in keeping the state's finances on a solid footing, even when other states were rocked by the recession.

As West Virginia faces its many challenging social issues -- from prescription drug abuse and prison overcrowding to health care costs and poor health habits -- it is important to have a leader who understands what state government can do and what it can't.

In the wake of the Supreme Court decision on health care reform, Tomblin was quick to recognize the huge costs involved in expanding Medicaid and began asking all the right questions about what West Virginia can afford to do.

He also understands the importance of helping communities in smaller ways, from using the National Guard to help Huntington with dilapidated housing to finding $50,000 to reopen the swimming pool at the A.D. Lewis Center.

Tomblin and Maloney both have identified the key issues for West Virginia -- improving the job and business climate, retooling the education system and pushing for a healthier population -- but it will take experience and proven leadership to get the job done.

We think Tomblin is the best choice for West Virginia.

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