OPINION: Governor Justice should show up to work at the State Capitol

By Connect Clarksburg Staff | July 24, 2018

Commentary by Delegate Eric Nelson, Chairman of the House Finance Committee.

There’s an old episode of The West Wing where the President stands in front of a crowd of students and tells them, “Decisions are made by those who show up.”

It’s a statement that rings true. Be it at the ballot box or state Capitol, you have to show up if you want your voice to be heard.

It’s a truth I wish our Governor would learn and take to heart.

For the past several weeks, we’ve been bombarded with headlines that indicate something’s not right with government in Charleston.

From victims of the 2016 floods still waiting on the help they desperately need and have been promised, to the firings of senior officials at the Department of Commerce, to questions of the ethical involvement of prominent business interests in state government, to the cloud over the once-promising China Energy deal, one can’t help but question whether the leadership in the executive branch has been asleep at the wheel. 

Meanwhile, the Governor has taken offense and deflected blame when questioned on these topics. He’s scolded the media for writing stories about these matters instead of the flowers at the Capitol.

I, for one, am grateful for the investigative journalists who’ve risen up in the face of a media blackout to pursue legitimate stories about our government failing to meet the needs of its citizens. (And for the record: this administration’s line of communications with the Legislature isn’t much better than the one it has with the press.)

While the Governor has been insulted by this question, one can’t help but ask: Would these situations have been prevented if he’d actually devoted his efforts full-time to working at the Capitol?

The Governor has said he’s in constant communication by phone with his staff when he’s not in Charleston, but I don’t think that’s good enough.

Our Constitution created a government with a part-time Legislature. It envisioned legislators who hold private-sector jobs and can bring a wide array of experience to the legislative branch.

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