— *** Newspaper Endorsement Week 2014 ***—
Down in West Virginia’s southern counties, this year’s congressional race is especially vicious. The extreme-right Koch brothers — sons of a founder of the crackpot John Birch Society — are pouring their inherited wealth into an all-out attempt to knock Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., out of Congress.
We hope this out-of-state effort to buy a West Virginia election fails. We endorse Rahall and hope he wins Nov. 4.
For 19 consecutive terms, 3rd District voters have sent Rahall to Washington, making him the state’s longest-serving member of Congress. He is the ranking Democrat on the important House Transportation Committee (meaning he would be chairman if the Democrats controlled the House). He gained national stature as former head of the House Natural Resources Committee, and has always been a supporter of both the coal industry and mine safety. He also is a leader on environmental issues, national parks and public lands.
Rahall’s grandfather came to America from Lebanon. Rahall is an acknowledged expert on the Middle East. He supports sensible positions regarding that hate-filled region, seeking more balance in America’s dealings there.
His opponent is a political chameleon — a Republican who turned Democrat, then turned Republican again. While in the Legislature as a Democrat, he supported provisions of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (which has given health insurance to 170,000 West Virginians) — but now as a Republican again, he opposes them.
In contrast, Rahall is tried and true. He has served West Virginia well for 19 terms. Now he deserves a 20th.
Follow The Charleston Gazette’s endorsements and news coverage at http://www.wvgazette.com