There are many reasons to endorse Jim Justice for a second term as governor of West Virginia.
Remember how his administration effectively and efficiently cleared up the mess from the 2016 floods and got people back into their homes? Uh, let’s forget that one.
How about the dignity he brought to the Governor’s Office when, in a dispute with the Legislature’s leadership, he lifted the lid from a silver platter to reveal a piece of dried bovine manure to describe his opinion of the lawmakers’ actions? Um, let’s forget that one, too.
How about the China deal? You know, that big economic development package announced in 2017 that promised the moon? The problem is, no one knows what promises Justice made because he refuses to let anyone see what’s in it.
How about how he held fast as the top-ranking member of the state’s Democratic Party, whose members elected him, despite overtures to turn Republican. Oops. Never mind.
But there’s his continuing leadership in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. OK. No.
Gov. Jim Justice wants voters to return him to office. Normally we would say Justice wants voters to return him to the Governor’s Mansion, but Justice spends little time there, in part because that would interfere with his equally important (to him) job of coaching a high school basketball team.
In his nearly four years in office, Justice has given people precious few reasons to vote for him. He’s up for his every-fourth-year job review, and it’s time for his employers — the voters of West Virginia — to decide whether he’s still the best candidate for the job.
He’s not. That designation, title or whatever you want to call it falls upon Ben Salango, the Democratic Party candidate.
Salango has distinguished himself in life, with his rise from humble beginnings to become an attorney, an entrepreneur and a Kanawha County commissioner. He promises to release the details of the China deal. He says he will create a Bureau of Childhood Advocacy and remove those functions from the Department of Health and Human Resources.
He will divide the Department of Commerce into various regions to promote development ideas with greater local emphasis.
Salango promises his management style will be “180 degrees” from the way Justice is running the Governor’s Office.
This is what The Herald-Dispatch said earlier this year when endorsing Salango in the Democratic primary: “Salango offers something persuasive: his ability to get things done. He took the lead in getting the Shawnee Sports Complex at Institute built on time, on budget and with local union labor. Before the novel coronavirus hit, the complex had become one of the largest tourist draws in this part of West Virginia thanks to its ability to attract multistate youth sports tournaments.” He is a Charleston attorney, but he also is a businessperson, as he owns 304 Tees, a company that produces shirts with local union labor. For full disclosure, he also was among a group of people who invested in HD Media in 2018 to purchase the Charleston Gazette-Mail, but sold his share in HD Media after he announced his candidacy.
“Salango offers the combination of energy and accomplishment that a candidate for governor should have.”
Nothing has happened to change that assessment. The Herald- Dispatch endorses Ben Salango for West Virginia governor.