Thursday, December 7, 2023

West Virginia is looking forward

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Voters have to question the motives of an elected official who is so worried about political appearances that he is willing to attempt derailing an economic development project that could revitalize his own flailing community. But Del. Pat McGeehan, R-Hancock, is doing just that as he continues to tilt at windmills when it comes to Form Energy.

After trying to shoot down legislative support for the project (and failing), McGeehan turned to writing two letters to Form Energy’s board of directors seeking information about its investors, alleged ties to foreign countries, and asking about any connections to Silicon Valley Bank, which was closed by regulators. What possible reason could a purportedly conservative lawmaker have for wanting to micromanage the dealings of a private business to that degree?

For the record, Form Energy says its investments are diversified, and the collapse of SVB had no effect on its operations.

Certainly the attempted political theater is dangerous, as state Senate Majority Whip Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, pointed out:

“Eventually, these are going to come to your district or your district or this district or that district,” said Weld. “I think it’s incumbent upon us as legislators to support each other as we work through these opportunities, because the next district could be yours. I think that is why we all should be here to raise West Virginia up one district, one county, at a time, because eventually it all adds up.”

McGeehan was not alone, of course. A small group of lawmakers made a stink — one of them going so far as to accuse his fellow Republicans of Soviet Union-style central planning. One wonders whether that gentleman had put more thought into the matter than the emotional effect of using the word “Soviet.”

But again, why? It is unconscionable that elected officials would work AGAINST bringing in the kinds of employers that could help the state attract and retain other employers; and lift entire communities that have been struggling for years as some of our state’s traditional employers dry up.

We’re not going backward, nor should we try to do so. West Virginia is moving forward, no matter how hard some politicians may try to hold us back. Voters must ensure those politicians determined to stop us don’t get another chance to slow us down.

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