— *** Newspaper Endorsement Week 2014 ***—
Around 170,000 lower-income West Virginians have obtained health insurance through the landmark Affordable Care Act. It’s a humanitarian advance for America’s “safety net” that helps people keep working and earning.
Yet 2nd District Republican congressional nominee Alex Mooney — an odd out-of-stater who knows little about West Virginia — vows to destroy this progress. “The Obamacare train wreck is beyond repair,” he declared. “Our Republican leaders need to stand firm and fight to repeal Obamacare completely.”
West Virginia’s GOP attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, endorsed him proudly, saying “I know Alex Mooney will fight against Obamacare.” Apparently they both want to strip medical coverage from 170,000 West Virginians.
In contrast, the Democratic nominee in the 2nd District, Charleston lawyer Nick Casey, is practical, sensible, and concerned for average folks. He told Gazette editors that the ACA has been good for the state, although he would improve a couple of its features, particularly elements that penalize businesses.
In the Nov. 4 election, for which early voting begins Oct. 22, we think the best nominee clearly is Casey, a former state Democratic chairman and the elected treasurer of the American Bar Association. We think he would give West Virginia respected stature in Congress.
Casey is a self-made success. His biography says: “Born on the left-hand fork of Lens Creek near Marmet, he grew up in the shadow of the Libbey-Owens glass factory smokestacks, in a cinderblock duplex built by his dad and uncles.” His father was a teacher and his Italian-born grandfather cut marble when the State Capitol was built.
Casey earned an accounting degree at the University of Kentucky, then a law degree from West Virginia University. He and his wife Mary Frances have two children. He became managing partner in Charleston’s Lewis, Glasser, Casey & Rollins law firm. He was president of the West Virginia Bar Association.
He performs extensive volunteer work. He led directors of St. Francis and Thomas hospitals a dozen years, raising funds for a new wing. For 19 years, he has spent his summer vacation with Project Hope rebuilding homes in Clay County. He also works with Habitat for Humanity, the Appalachian Service Project and other compassionate causes. He even dressed as Santa for needy children at Christmas.
In politics, he focuses on commonsense teamwork to reduce hostile partisan gridlock in Washington. He vows to “bring our brave troops home and build schools and roads in West Virginia counties, not in Iraq and Afghanistan.” During the primary campaign, he told Gazette editors he worries that coal industry decline may leave parts of West Virginia in poverty of the sort that afflicted Pittsburgh after steel mills closed, yet he sees potential in the state’s various energy sources.
His main rival, Mooney, previously ran for office in New Hampshire and Maryland, before renting an Eastern Panhandle house and winning the GOP nomination for Congress. In June, he refused to answer whether he will buy a home in West Virginia. Casey’s headquarters said:
“Mooney apparently owns no home in West Virginia, has not paid property taxes in the state, and only voted here for the first time in the May primary election.”
It denounced his “recent opportunistic move to West Virginia just so he could run for office.” If Mooney loses on Nov. 4, we suppose he will try his luck in a fourth state.
Meanwhile, West Virginia will gain a knowledgeable champion if Democrat Nick Casey goes to Congress.