Falwell and Justice

Jerry Falwell Jr., left, president of Liberty University, and Jim Justice, governor of West Virginia, answer questions at a press conference at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 in Martinsburg, W.Va. (Ron Agnir/The Journal via AP)

Last week, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice, along with Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., made a pitch for some counties in Virginia to secede and join West Virginia.

“If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere you may be,” the governor said at a joint news conference with Falwell. “We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment, and we stand strongly for the unborn.”

In the wake of that, readers of The Herald-Dispatch were asked: Should West Virginia lawmakers actively pursue getting Virginia border counties to secede? Here are some of the responses:

Kelly Fe: “I think WV should rename itself as it originally intended to. The current name causes constant confusion and portrays co-dependence and lack of independent identity. Kanawha or Vandalia, as originally intended, would be fine. This mass of land needs to work on its own problems and atrocious PR and leave everyone else alone.”

Kimberly Dawn Herbert Maynard: “... West Virginia should keep its name as is. Why should the name be changed because people didn’t pay attention in history or while learning state names in elementary? It’s only been a state since 1863. People have always been confused between WV and VA. It has nothing to do with the name; it has everything to do with people not listening and hearing WESTERN instead of WEST. WV has always received bad PR. That will not change until the elected officials are voted out and those with love of their state are voted in.”

Joe Spriegel: “I’d vote for a change to Vandalia.”

Bruce Napier: “No, Virginia voted themselves into the awful state it is now. Let them vote themselves away from liberalism and not bring it here.”

Mike Baum: “... awful state? Their economy makes a mockery of ours. Their school performance is on a whole different level. We’d do good to take notes.”

J.J. Hensley: “... You’ve obviously never lived in VA. It’s anything but awful.”

Bruce Napier: “I couldn’t stand your liberal lawmakers, thanks. ... West Virginia is now coming out of a dark past of 84 years of Democrat control. We will keep improving if we stay on course.”

Melody Russell: “I live in VA now. I have never had a boil water advisory, even after a hurricane. Just sayin’ ...”

Brandon Ray Kirk: “We are an illegal state created in Wheeling. We need to rejoin Virginia.”

Joe Spriegel: “The best way they could do that is by making this a state folks would want to join. I think energy would be better spent doing that. Occupational licensing reform would be the low-hanging fruit for boosting our economy and shrinking government.”

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