— *** Newspaper Endorsement Week 2014 ***—
FAIRMONT, W.Va. — There was a time four years ago when the Times West Virginian did not support David McKinley in his bid for Congress.
Not to say that we were wrong in 2010. Both candidates at the time were untested at the federal level. After winning the 2010 campaign, which brought in a wave of conservative representatives, McKinley began to build a record of service at the Capitol, a voice for West Virginia and her people on the federal level, and a bridge between two parties when it mattered the most.
Four years later, we can point to several reasons why McKinley should continue on representing West Virginia’s 1st Congressional District in Washington, D.C.
As one of only two engineers in Congress — that may come up in a conversation or two — McKinley tackles problems with the calculating, logical mind of an engineer. Any issue that comes up, McKinley analyzes it like a mathematical equation, looks at all angles and offers a reasonable and logical approach to fixing it.
Sometimes the fix is along party lines. Sometimes it is not.
There are those who may try to tie the anchor of “the most do-nothing Congress” around McKinley’s neck, but we’re not sure that it’s fair to paint with such a broad stroke. Partisan politics in both chambers has done more to stall the most serious issues that need to be addressed, with minority and majority leaders in both chambers playing chicken with critical timelines to send a message.
But we think McKinley’s message is different.
He often rides the bus back and forth between Washington, D.C., and his Wheeling home. On these trips, he meets people from all walks of life — students, soldiers, teachers, seniors. And he listens, sometimes waiting to reveal that he’s a congressman so that the person may feel like they can speak more freely.
The congressman also constantly holds roundtable discussions with elected officials, those from the business sector, veterans, students, teachers, leaders in the community. Because that’s who he answers to, and that’s who he serves — the people of West Virginia.
We also do not believe there could be a stronger advocate for West Virginia coal than McKinley. Not only has he been a very vocal challenger to President Barack Obama’s administration’s failure to support the coal industry, McKinley is an advocate for a national energy policy that will exceed the term of the person in the Oval Office. He’s written legislation to that end, as well as legislation that would stop the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash, a key component in concrete that if deemed a hazardous material by the EPA would mean skyrocketing construction costs.
He has a very keen understanding of climate change, and challenges rules with “arbitrary” figures established by the EPA that he says don’t make sense scientifically.
He has gone to battle to fight for funding for West Virginia’s federal high-tech establishments along the I-79 Corridor, like the National Energy Technology Laboratory and NASA IV&V, which was slashed in proposals and eventually restored to existing levels.
He strongly supports social and entitlement programs, like Medicare and Social Security, but he wants to see waste, fraud and abuse eliminated from the system to ensure their sustainability for generations to come.
And when asked how he planned to move forward with his 2014 re-election bid, he said he didn’t have much of a plan at all. McKinley said there was a lot of “nastiness” during the 2012 election, and with almost four years of service to the 1st Congressional District under his belt, he wants his campaign to be about what he’s accomplished.
“I will run on my record; I will run on my record any day,” McKinley said. “We have a tremendous staff, and I’m proud of what we’ve done.”
We strongly believe, by a unanimous vote of the newspaper’s editorial board, that McKinley has earned the right to retain his congressional seat on that record, too.
Follow the Times West Virginian’s endorsements and news coverage at http://www.timeswv.com/