Corruption must be eliminated for economic gains - WOWK 13 Charleston, Huntington WV News, Weather, Sports

Corruption must be eliminated for economic gains

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  • Transition team must act with urgency

    Transition team must act with urgency

    Friday, December 16 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-16 11:00:16 GMT

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

    Governor-elect Jim Justice’s policy committees seem to be made up of some of the state’s best minds. Dr. Clay Marsh with West Virginia University Hospitals; Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District; Richard Adams of United Bank; Dave Arnold with Adventures on the Gorge; a host of other intelligent, qualified, inventive people who understand the challenges our state faces. 

  • Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Chief of staff brings needed experience to the Justice team

    Friday, December 9 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-09 11:00:15 GMT

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

    This week, Governor-elect Jim Justice announced that Nick Casey, a long-time lobbyist, former congressional candidate, former state Democratic Party chairman and a fixture in West Virginia’s political scene, will serve as the Justice administration’s chief of staff.

  • Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Opportunity makes WV workers happy

    Friday, December 2 2016 6:00 AM EST2016-12-02 11:00:19 GMT

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

    As you’ll read in “The Buzz” in this week’s edition, Sokanu, a company that bills itself as “a career discovery platform,” recently released a study that indicated the happiest workers live in Hawaii. Working on a tropical island that boasts breathtaking natural beauty, stunning beaches and awe-inspiring mountain vistas should not come as a surprise. 

Disgraced former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury is slated to spend the next four years behind bars. Thornsbury spent 17 years on the bench, but this week he pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to deprive a man of his constitutional rights in order to protect a political ally.

He acted like a “third world dictator” and what he did was “an ugly insult to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston said during Thornsbury’s sentencing.

The details of his crimes have been well documented, but Thornsbury’s operation manages to shock even in a state with a long, sad history of political corruption. George White, one of the victims in this mess, put a fine point on it when he said during Thornsbury’s sentencing, “there’s three laws in West Virginia: federal, state and Mingo County law. And Mingo County law I fear a whole lot more than federal or state — because anything is possible under that law.”

Can you imagine feeling that way as a citizen of any county or city in this country, let alone in our state? No wonder Mingo County is in the shape it’s in; so many have lost faith in the most fundamental civic concepts. Just making it is hard enough, but the odds for success are clearly stacked against you. Why would an enterprising person or group even consider investing there when it’s known the first time you cross someone at the courthouse, the goon squad comes calling? This kind of behavior is not limited to Williamson. It happens all over West Virginia.

Thornsbury and other lawbreakers need to be brought to justice, and this kind of corruption must be rooted out at all levels. But nothing is truly going to change until we address the larger issue — for so many places in West Virginia, if not the entire state, the economy is based on the government. Elected officials and bureaucrats hold sway over far too much. Their power extends well beyond rule making or rule interpretation. It’s a fiefdom. We deserver better, but nothing is going to happen until we open this state for investment. Corruption in some form or fashion will always exist, but nothing good happens when the political class not only has absolute power, but it controls who prospers and who does not.

A better West Virginia is a West Virginia where everyone has a real, lasting shot at the American Dream.

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