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Charleston Gazette Op-Ed: Time for Election and Ethics ReformJanuary 7, 2013
On Sunday, January 6th, the Charleston Gazette published an opinion piece I wrote calling for election and ethics reform in our state. Below is the text:
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Much has been written of late about campaign finance. Just as we all got tired of negative ads, the latest blasphemy is even worse.
No one runs for office wanting to self-fund any portion of their campaign. However, when you enter the arena you quickly realize that many of the tactics used by the entrenched political elite in our state make it exceedingly difficult for a challenger to compete. From pulled permits, to tax audits, to investigations, to state contracts being pulled – we have heard it all. In a free society, we should not allow threats, incumbent-self-protection techniques, and machine politics to discourage fresh faces with bold new ideas from entering the political process. When a candidate self-finances, it is merely an attempt to counteract the natural, and frequently inappropriate advantages of incumbency. Ultimately, our elected officials work for the people of the state and should not be beholden to wealthy special interests and the politically well connected. Our founding fathers envisioned good people of high moral character serving in public office. They must be rolling over in their graves to see how difficult it is for non-incumbents to compete in today’s political environment!