— *** Newspaper Endorsement Week 2014 ***—
Democratic Secretary of State Natalie Tennant is an underdog in the race for U.S. Senate. National analysts say West Virginia has shifted so far to the “red” mentality that the state’s first female senator in Washington is likely to be Republican.
However, it would be a shame if the GOP — the party serving the rich, military hawks and fundamentalists — gains more power in the Senate.
Tennant is attuned to average working families, the folks who comprise most of West Virginia’s population. She has a solid record of public service, and has won statewide election twice. Therefore, we endorse her in the Nov. 4 general election.
Tennant was raised on a Marion County farm. Her parents and five siblings were teachers. The family sold cows to send her to West Virginia University, where she studied broadcast journalism. (Also, she was the first female Mountaineer mascot.)
She became a news reporter for WBOY-TV in Clarksburg, then for WCHS-TV in Charleston. She married state Sen. Erik Wells, D-Kanawha, with whom she has a daughter. They operate a video and media firm. His legislative duty was suspended while he served as a Navy lieutenant commander in Afghanistan.
She was elected secretary of state in 2008 and in 2012. She managed so cost-effectively that she returned $3 million to the state general fund in 2013. Her biography says she “has more investigations and convictions for election law violations than any other secretary in West Virginia’s history.”
Her opponent, Rep. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va., voted more than 50 times to kill the Affordable Care Act, which has provided health insurance to 170,000 lower-income West Virginians and reformed insurance industry practices that denied Americans needed medical care. Republicans endlessly try to slash the safety net that sustains tens of thousands of Mountain State families. It will be harmful if the GOP gains additional power in Congress.
Wealthy interests have lavished millions on Capito, giving her a 3-to-1 cash advantage in the campaign. Evidently they expect to get their money’s worth if she serves them on Capitol Hill.
Tennant is an appealing West Virginian who would represent the state well in the U.S. Senate. We hope enough Mountain State voters remember their Democratic roots to overcome her underdog status and send her to Washington.
Follow The Charleston Gazette’s endorsements and news coverage at http://www.wvgazette.com