EDITORIAL: Earl Ray's Chaotic Mess. Are He and the Senate Democrats Competent?

EDITORIAL: Earl Ray's Chaotic Mess.  Are He and the Senate Democrats Competent?
Earl Ray Tomblin was known for one great achievement over his lengthy tenure as State Senate President.  Whether one was an admirer or detractor of the Logan County Democrat, one had to admit that Tomblin ran a smooth-running ship in the upper chamber of the state legislature.

In the 1990s, Tomblin's Senate was a welcome contrast to the ridiculous stunts that plagued Speaker Bob Kiss's rowdy House of Delegates.  And Tomblin always had a way of getting his way in showdowns with Kiss, who was supposed to be the smarter and better educated of the two. Tomblin put Kiss to shame on a regular basis, putting together an orderly process in the State Senate that even approached a degree of decorum.

Those days are long gone, aren't they?  In just a matter of a few weeks, everything that Tomblin has built in the State Senate is now in ashes after the Logan strongman had to yield to State Senator Jeff Kessler (D-Marshall) and his more liberal cohort.

Losing to Kessler and Company was bad enough but not dishonorable. However, Senator/Governor Tomblin is being called exactly that by some of his closest friends in the State Senate, folks who feel betrayed by Tomblin's arrangement with Kessler.  Tomblin's Senate friends claim that the deal appears self-serving, allowing Tomblin to retain his coveted Governorship while throwing his friends--many of whom were longstanding committee chairs, under the bus.

So hot has it gotten over in the usually sedate State Senate that legal big gun Jim Lees has been called in by Senator Truman Chafin to help challenge the constitutionality of the new Kessler "regime."  The upshot of this may be that the high court may put a freeze on Senate activity until this is resolved.  Otherwise, legislation passed by this current new leadership in the Senate could be rendered null and void if a court decision later declares this Kessler team an unconstitutional one.

All of this begs the following question:  can't the Republican Party of West Virginia put forward a Governor's candidate who can demonstrate more competence than this?  Frankly, can't the studios of Walt Disney World put forward a candidate with more competence than this?

West Virginians may not always be tuned into every nuance of the state legislature, but this is bound to get their attention before long. We don't ask for much, just legislators debating bills and doing the state's business.

So if the egomaniacs in the Governor's Mansion and on the Democratic side of the aisle in the State Senate can't do this, isn't it time for a sea change?
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