EDITORIAL:  West Virginia Needs a Job Creator
It seems that just about every Democratic officeholder in Charleston fancies themselves the next Governor. But one wonders just how much consultation Jeff Kessler, Earl Ray Tomblin, Rick Thompson, Natalie Tennant, or John Perdue have done before plunging into gubernatorial succession politics.

Let's hope that none of them are neglecting their day jobs as they preen before the mirror.

In addition, we have seen a State Senate completely in an uproar, with yet another petty power play going on to decide the leadership of the State Senate and its committees. That may be going to the Supreme Court next.

But now that the Supreme Court has already decided that the West Virginia Constitution required a special election for the unexpired term of Joe Manchin, West Virginians need to ask themselves just what we want in our next Governor?

Can we really entrust such an important office to career politicians in Charleston, none of whom have ever created a single private sector job?  Shouldn't we look for that job creating ability in a Governor, especially during this protracted recession?

Moreover, to make it easier on the state's taxpayers during a time like this, wouldn't a dose of business sense be refreshing in a Governor?  We need someone who can balance the books and streamline the state government's bureaucracy effectively, running government like an effective business.

The people no longer have the patience for business as usual in Charleston, with our statehouse serving as a feeding trough for those who want a permanent welfare state, placed on the backs of state taxpayers. Yes, we take care of our own in West Virginia, but not those able-bodied folks who just want to be kept while the rest of us work.

So as we scan the Democratic offerings for Governor, we say with Shania Twain that they "don't impress me much," especially when it comes to job creation and slimming the size of state government.

The Republicans,.however, have a better crop of candidates, first with State Senator Clark Barnes, who has gained a reputation for challenging the bureaucratic bloating in Charleston. Former Secretary of State Betty Ireland ran a tight ship during her term as the state's Chief Elections officer.

But the word of Greer Industries CEO John Raese looking again at the possibility of throwing his hard hat into the ring is what is giving conservatives in both parties a real charge this past week. Why?

For starters, Raese balances his companies' budgets yearly and has created thousands of jobs in West Virginia over the years in his limestone, broadcasting, steel, and tourism businesses.  Raese's businesses have managed to thrive in good times and bad in a state that is not always friendly to business.

That kind of know-how would be exceptional to have in a Governor.

But what taxpayers around the state have come to know about Raese is that he's never seen a tax he ever liked.  In a recession, that's good news for everybody.

The Republicans have a great opportunity this year to show the states' voters that their kind of reform is the one they want to try in 2011.