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Editorial: West Virginia and Virginia legislatures facing different obstacles

From the Bluefield Daily Telegraph:

The upcoming legislative sessions in Charleston and Richmond, Va., could prove to be an interesting contrast of cooperation and chaos.

In West Virginia, Republicans are now in full control of the House, Senate and the governor’s mansion. Jim Justice, who was elected to office as a Democrat, is now a Republican.

Justice switched parties in August after getting elected as a Democrat in 2016. He has since installed Senate Finance Committee Chairman Mike Hall as his new chief of staff and has made a number of personnel changes that should — with hope — provide a framework for improved cooperation with majority Republicans in the House and Senate.

“The governor has surrounded himself now with people that feel philosophically the same way … and he believes those things,” Senate President Mitch Carmichael told the Associated Press last week. “So there’s a philosophical alignment toward pro-growth, pro-jobs, pro-coal, pro-natural resources in this Legislature and in the governor’s office whereas before it may not have been the case.”

Good. If everyone can get along — and avoid the distractions and sideshow antics that created division last year — it should prove to be a productive legislative session. A united Republican party with the backing of a Republican governor should be able to accomplish a lot of good for West Virginia, particularly in terms of creating a pro-growth environment for businesses.

Don’t expect to see the same level of cooperation in Virginia where Republicans and resurgent Democrats are miles apart both in their political philosophy and legislative goals.

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