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Sen. Mike Hall: Justice chose well for chief of staff

The Parkersburg News and Sentinel editorial

Gov. Jim Justice announced Tuesday he has named state Sen. Mike Hall, R-Putnam, as his new chief of staff.

From the standpoint of dealing with the state budget, it would have been difficult for the governor to make a better selection. Hall is chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and has demonstrated a superior knowledge of the nuts and bolts of the budget.

And, as he demonstrates often when discussing state spending, Hall has an excellent feel for how the numbers affect human beings.

Justice’s decision to change his voter registration from Democrat to Republican set the stage for the chief of staff change. Formerly, prominent Democrat Nick Casey had served in the post. The incompatibility of that relationship became evident quickly, and Casey was fired on Monday.

In addition to Hall’s knowledge of the budget and other aspects of government, his relationship with other legislators, both Democrat and Republican, will serve the governor well. Often at odds with lawmakers, Justice now has a chief of staff who knows them and, we hope, can help build better relationships with the executive branch. If Justice hopes to move his agenda forward, that will be critical.

Both because of Hall’s personal strengths and his legislative experience and contacts, the governor appears to have made one of the best choices he has made during recent months.

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