WVPA Sharing

Opinion: Focus on the mission

By Retired Major General James Hoyer, WV National Guard

You’ve heard me say it before: too many politicians, campaigns and interest groups are focused on what divides us. That needs to stop. Negative campaigns and extreme viewpoints play into the hands of our foreign enemies, amplify the threats we face and don’t solve core local issues.

In the next several years, the world will be at a significantly dangerous and challenging stage. International instability makes all of us across America unsafe, including West Virginians.

Despite challenges, in our own state we’re building some positive growth. When it comes to economic opportunity, we have set the stage for once again achieving our full potential and enjoying the success and economic diversity I knew growing up in the Kanawha Valley in the 1960s, 70s and 80s. We can only continue making this kind of progress by working together.

I spent nearly 40 years as a military leader to protect and serve our great State and Nation. With that, I take my responsibility for civic engagement seriously, especially when it comes to voting. The right for citizens to participate in our democracy is a hallmark of our American freedom.

The West Virginia primary election is coming up May 14, 2024. As a voter who is registered as “party unaffiliated” (Independent), my mission is to look across the political parties to understand candidates’ positions on issues and, more importantly, their character – who they are. My focus is to select candidates who promote and prioritize common purpose. I look for those who focus on jobs and pathways to economic opportunity for all, who look out for our current and future generations through strengthening our educational systems, who focus on our safety and security, and who lead by serving others.

I urge us all to seek candidates who focus on the issues that connect us and who can achieve positive change and momentum – not those who divide us with personal attacks or who advocate extreme positions.

We owe it to ourselves, to our children, and especially to all the veterans and military families who have sacrificed to give us this fundamental voting right. Voting is not just a right and responsibility, it should be our mission. Make your voice heard by voting this May!


Retired Major General James Hoyer is a West Virginia native and a military leader with a career spanning nearly 40 years leading complex state and federal missions as a member of the West Virginia National Guard. A respected community figure with a legacy of distinguished service in the Mountain State, Hoyer currently serves to foster economic development, health, and security in West Virginia and the Nation while taking pride in his roles as husband and father.

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