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Patrick Morrisey: Attorney general should put state's people first

Oct. 18, 2012 @ 12:00 AM

As the Obama Administration continues to push policies that have a detrimental impact on our state, many West Virginians are concerned about how candidates for statewide public office would fight against the regulatory onslaught coming out of Washington. I'm running for attorney general because I believe West Virginia needs an attorney general who is willing to take on President Obama's excessive regulations and job-killing policies that are harming our citizens' way of life.

A strong and principled attorney general could be a very positive force for economic growth in our state, and finally tackle government corruption. Our current Attorney General's Office desperately needs to change the way it operates so that taxpayers and the people are put ahead of re-election concerns.

My name is Patrick Morrisey, candidate for attorney general. I'm from Harpers Ferry, one of the countless beautiful spots in our great state. Growing up in a working class family, I paid my own way through college and law school before I began practicing law. I started out as a sole practitioner (waiting tables to make ends meet) and learned the importance of maintaining a hard work ethic, something most West Virginians appreciate.

Working my way up through the legal system, I have held very senior positions in both the government and the private sector and have spent a considerable amount of time on health care regulatory matters. With more than 20 years of legal and policy experience, I have served as partner and co-chair of one of the largest life science-healthcare practices in the country. While chief health counsel for the Energy and Commerce Committee in the House of Representatives, I helped draft and negotiate major legislation, including the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. In private practice, I assisted the states in their challenge to Obamacare; in contrast, my opponent refused to put West Virginia on that lawsuit.

As your attorney general, I want to use my regulatory experience to fight for West Virginia jobs. President Obama's war on coal has done significant damage to the industry that provides for and sustains so many of our families. West Virginia coal is under assault, but our current attorney general has been on the sidelines. If elected, I'll work closely with the governor and state agencies to join lawsuits against the EPA and block federal regulations that kill West Virginia jobs. We need a much more aggressive attorney general, because it does not take an expert to tell you that Washington won't back off.

West Virginia could also use an attorney general who is competent in health care. Given the pending Medicaid budget shortfalls, we need an attorney general who will take a proactive approach to ensure that we protect Medicaid for the most vulnerable of our society and don't take on financial burdens we cannot afford. Unfortunately, my opponent has made errors in the Medicaid program that will cost our state millions of dollars and may place seniors' health care benefits at risk. In a time of tight budgets, we can't afford bad judgment calls that cost our state.

Finally, we need to end wasteful spending in the Office of Attorney General. Our current attorney general, Darrell McGraw, has made a practice of using settlement money from lawsuits, such as the mortgage settlement, to help fund election year, self-promotion campaigns. This year alone, he will likely spend more than $1 million on radio and TV ads, mail pieces, trinkets, all using his name, in an attempt to build favor leading into the Election Day. I think that's wrong. As attorney general, I'll put an end to that practice by returning settlement money to the legislature and the taxpayers where it belongs.

Attorney General McGraw has been in office for 32 years. We should thank him for his service, but now it's time for a new direction. I encourage every West Virginian to visit our website at www.PatrickMorrisey.com. There you will find my detailed 17-point plan for my first 100 days in office, including initiatives to advance ethics reform, take on the EPA and facilitate job growth in the state. I would be grateful for your vote on Nov. 6. Thank you.

Patrick Morrisey, a resident of Harpers Ferry, is Republican candidate for West Virginia attorney general.

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