by Ron Gregory
President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee is described as a “constitutional originalist” by the media. That means, apparently, that Neil Gorsuch, like bible-thumpers everywhere, believes he has the only clear understanding of what the “founding fathers” had in mind when they penned the Constitution.
Just because the Second Amendment makes it clear it is referring to a “well-regulated militia” Gorsuch evidently shares the right wing view that the founders intended for every toddler and insane American to be free to “pack heat.” That, on average, more than twice a month we have a minor shooting another toddler “accidentally,” has no apparent effect on these folks. Guns, guns for everyone appears to be their theme.
I, therefore, could not vote to confirm Gorsuch for Family Court Judge, let alone Supreme Court justice. On the other hand, he, just like President Obama’s lame-duck nominee, has a right to a hearing and vote before the Senate. Maneuvering and stonewalling a simple vote shows no real leadership on anyone’s part. It appears lawmakers are afraid to cast their ballots openly and honestly to determine who serves on the highest court in the nation.
Gorsuch likely has the votes to be confirmed, but Democrats shift and move trying to prevent a vote. They do the same for Attorney General-designee Jeff Sessions, who I WOULD vote for. My logic there is that Sessions makes no laws; he is only charged with seeing that they are enforced as written.
Again, I understand that it is difficult for some to understand the simple English language used in these laws. How one can read the Second Amendment and miss the opening phrase “a well-regulated militia” somehow, is beyond my comprehension.
Nevertheless, Democrats are wrong to try to hold up a vote just as Republicans were wrong a few months ago with Obama’s nominee.
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Rumors point more and more to Amy Shuler Goodwin’s entry into the next Charleston mayoral race. With most folks assuming Councilman Andy Richardson and J.B. Akers will also be running, the Goodwin entry adds a great deal of intrigue.
Goodwin is a former Mayor’s Assistant and promoted travel and tourism during much of the Earl Ray Tomblin state administration. Well-known and pleasantly outgoing, she will present a real challenge to all others in the race.
I would guess, at this point, that the odds of her winning are very good indeed.
Current Mayor Danny Jones, who has done a great job leading the city, has said he will not seek re-election.
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Speaking of Mayor races, last week’s Mingo County trial involving Norfolk Southern brought retired Circuit Judge Thomas Keadle and his wife, Beverly, to Williamson for the week.
Judge Keadle held the trial since Circuit Judge Miki Thompson was recused due to a family conflict of interest. Thompson’s husband is a N-S employee. Keadle served as Special Judge by appointment of the state Supreme Court.
In any event, Beverly Keadle said she is moving forward in her campaign to be elected Mayor of Romney, where she and the judge reside. The election there is set for June 13.
Beverly Keadle is active in a number of civic and community events and organizations in the Eastern Panhandle. The judge’s service as Circuit Judge was in the district that includes Upshur and Lewis counties. Both of the Keadles have impeccable reputations in the communities where they have served.
Beverly Keadle will be challenging current Mayor Daniel O. Hileman. She said, as the currently-elected Town Recorder, she had said she would run when Hileman told friends he would not stand for re-election. “He changed his mind, which he has a right to do,” she said. “But I had already committed to many people that I would run, so I moved ahead and filed.”
Romney has a strong mayor-council form of government and is the town widely recognized as home to the first Confederate memorial monument as well as home for the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind.
Romney is a historic, beautiful city. I do not know Mayor Hileman, but I do know Beverly Keadle. She would be a real asset to preside over any town government.
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After the Williamson law firm of Greg “Hootie” Smith won a huge verdict in the Norfolk-Southern case, it is interesting to note things are moving swiftly on another legal matter.
The Chafin Law Firm of former Senator H. Truman Chafin has been hired by two more counties recently to represent them in suits against the large pharmaceutical companies. The Chafins, Truman and wife Letitia, filed suit last week on behalf of the Town of Kermit.
Williamson attorney and State Delegate Justin Marcum said his representation in the pharmaceutical cases has increased recently as well. Boone County is among the new clients Marcum has while Lincoln County has chosen Chafin.
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Governor Jim Justice’s administration is pleased with cutting 122 vehicles from the state’s motor fleet and says it will be looking for more ways to save taxpayer money.
Savings is apparently the only solution legislative Republicans are willing to consider in balancing next fiscal year’s budget.
A tip to the Justice staffers: I never went into any government leadership position where a savings on telephone charges could not be made. At the City of Glenville, Kanawha County and the City of Charleston, a quick investigation showed that each was paying for non-used and duplicate phone lines. I can’t imagine that the state doesn’t still have many of these that could easily be eliminated.
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The Kanawha County Commission decision to select Ben Salango to replace the departed David Hardy caused some consternation among local Republicans. Voting to appoint the Charleston personal injury attorney were Democrat Commission President Kent Carper and Republican Hoppy Shores.
The biggest objection I heard from members of the GOP was that Salango would be “harder to beat in two years” than some of the others who applied for the job. That, of course, should not be a criteria for decision-making as to a new public official. It often is, however.
Still, Carper and Shores are to be commended for conducting a transparent process in selecting Salango. Applicants were all known by the public and media and interviews were conducted in public view. Carper noted that many government units do not operate in the open as Kanawha does.
Salango is undoubtedly a good choice and the Commission deserves praise for its open public processes.
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It is sad, but apparently unavoidable, that the Crossing Mall at Elkview remains closed months after last year’s devastating flood. Plunging into bankruptcy, the owner of the once-busy shopping center appears to lack resources to replace the culvert-bridge access that was washed away by raging flood waters.
The governmental units, such as the Kanawha Commission, would be ill-advised to replace a bridge which is on private property. Although the shopping center employed 500 people and paid thousands into tax coffers, the missing bridge is still on private property. Local governments in West Virginia are nearly prohibited from doing much for private businesses, even in the way of tax incentives, etc. They would really have a problem if the Commission had decided to replace that bridge. For one thing, the cost is estimated at $1.1 million, which they could likely never recover.
The Commission has joined with the lender in trying to get a judge to let construction begin on a replacement bridge, which was stayed by previous court action. The county has no intention of absorbing any of the costs, but has said that getting the bridge built and the businesses restored is a top priority.
Meanwhile, when one looks at the Crossing Mall, he or she cannot help be reminded of the almost-defunct Rita Mall at Lyburn, Logan County. Although no destructive storm shut it down, it is sad to see the economic losses that have occurred in the Mountain State.
But private enterprise is needed to rejuvenate the state’s economy. Nobody can expect government to “fix” access to the shopping center at Elkview.
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Your comments, story ideas, gossip and plans for West Virginia economic development are always welcome. Use my email listed or call my cell, 304-533-5185.