WVPA Sharing

Senate President Bill Cole: Assessing the session’s first half

I have often been told that time is relative. Certainly at different points in my life, I’ve had days that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye and days that felt like they stretched for years.

Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer
Sen. Bill Cole, R-Mercer

In just a few days, we will reach the half way mark of the 2015 Legislative session. As I reflect on the time that has passed and I look toward the work we have in the days ahead, I’m energized by the challenge.

From the beginning, I have made it clear that my goal is to create the kind of West Virginia our kids can forever call home. I want to give our young people reasons to stay in this beautiful state. Great jobs must be the most positive promise that our state offers.

It’s a monumental task, but the Senate hit the ground running from the opening gavel. Our members have worked long days (and nights) to read bills, meet with constituents, meet and debate in committee, and take action to move West Virginia forward.

In the first half of this session, the Senate passed many bills that I believe advance our goal of making West Virginia a better place to live, to work, and to raise a family. We passed meaningful legal reform, we removed burdensome regulations that were placed on our electric-generating power plants, and we streamlined a permitting process that will allow 400 people to go to work almost immediately.

With those successes, however, we must prepare for serious challenges in the second half of session. We will address legislation that deals with how our taxpayer dollars are spent on public construction projects, and it will not be easy. There will be strong, emotional debate as the Senate works through this and other bills. We may disagree, but we will not be disagreeable. Regardless of where our politics rest, most every member of this body has the same goal: Do what’s best for West Virginia and her future.

We do not have all of the answers. We simply want to do the right thing for our state and its people. We will not stop working toward that goal.

However, it will require many of us to reframe the way we think about the issues and their solutions. What if instead of asking, “Why West Virginia?” we ask, “Why NOT West Virginia?”

Why not give our hardworking men and women the ability to have freedom in their workplaces? Why not allow our parents to choose whether they’d like to send their child to a public school or a public charter school? Why not allow the free market to set the wage rates on our public construction projects?

Why should we be bound by the past and by how things “used to be done”? We must approach old problems with new solutions. We have been given the opportunity to make necessary changes to allow West Virginia become competitive with not only its neighbors, but with the rest of the nation and the world.

Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden said, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” That quote really speaks to me as I prepare for the second half of this session. West Virginia, the time to do it right is now, and we don’t have time to do it over.

As we continue working, please make sure to write or call your Senator or Delegate to make sure your voice is heard. You can find a directory on the West Virginia Legislature’s website – www.legis.state.wv.us. We want to hear from you.


Senator Bill Cole, R-Mercer, is president of the West Virginia Senate.


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