Governor’s State of the State speech will set tone

An editorial from The Intelligencer/Wheeling News-Register

For the first time in many decades, both houses of the Legislature are led not by the governor’s Democrat Party, but by Republicans. And while the state of the state address is not on its face a discussion of politics, the issue is key to what happens in West Virginia this year.

No doubt Tomblin will discuss a variety of challenges before legislators beginning their annual 60-day session. They are many, ranging from balancing the budget to moving the state forward.

For those critical matters to be handled productively, a spirit of bipartisan cooperation will be necessary, regardless of the fact Republicans hold majorities in both the Senate and House of Delegates.

That will be easier in West Virginia than in many other states or, for that matter, in the federal government. Here in the Mountain State, Democrats and Republicans differ in philosophy – but they are much less likely than some of their counterparts elsewhere to make partisanship the primary criterion for how they vote.

Ultra-liberalism can be found in Charleston – but it is far less common than in Washington and some state capitals.

Tomblin himself has the reputation of being a conservative Democrat. That should help him in dealing with the new political realities in our state.

The governor has an immensely important responsibility – to set the tone of how Democrats and Republicans will work together this year and in the future. We do not expect him to adopt a confrontational tone and manner. To the contrary, he already has expressed eagerness to cooperate with Republicans in moving West Virginia forward.

Tomblin’s State of the State address will be his first opportunity to formally and publicly embrace that role. Here’s hoping he does so enthusiastically and unequivocally.

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