Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Opportunity Abounds in West Virginia ; Change Is Needed, but Must Come from Cumulative Effort of Residents

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Opportunity Abounds in West Virginia ; Change Is Needed, but Must Come from Cumulative Effort of Residents

Article excerpt

I have this growing feeling that West Virginia is approaching a turning point, or even a seminal moment where the arc of our state will be determined for years to come. Certainly the epic challenges facing the coal industry are part of the reason, but theres more much more. There is an aggregate effect of it all; the economy, the crumbling infrastructure, public education failures, spreading drug abuse, poor health, the states negative image.

Some of the problems are tangible and fixable dedicate more money to fixing the roads. Others are rooted more deeply in our psyche a sense of resignation that this is how it is in West Virginia and it will never be better.

But daily I talk with people, intelligent and successful people, who love this state and believe with all their hearts that, more than anything, we can do better.

Last Sunday, West Virginia native Dan McGinn, a nationally- recognized communications specialist in Washington, D.C., wrote a powerful piece in the Sunday Gazette-Mail where he expressed just such a sentiment where he imagined a new future for the Mountain State.

I dont agree completely with his assessment, particularly as it pertains to the coal industry, but he got me thinking; rather than rehashing that argument or emphasizing the differences, Ill settle on the common ground of working toward a better future, starting with how we, and the rest of the country, see our state.

We need to show that West Virginia is a place of extraordinary beauty where values matter, hard work is the norm, creativity exists in abundance and surprising opportunities abound, wrote McGinn.

Recently, MetroNews formed a partnership with Rex Repass and Repass Research and Strategy to continue the West Virginia Poll. Like McGinn, Repass is based out-of-state (Cincinnati), but he cares deeply about the place where he grew up.

West Virginia is at a crossroads. While weve heard this before, the challenge today is for the states leaders in business, academia, and government to act boldly, Repass told me. …

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