West Virginia has a new, but familiar governor occupying the governor's mansion after this week's special gubernatorial election. Democrat Earl Ray Tomblin - we are back to politicians with three names - has retained his seat after defeating Republican Bill Maloney. If you live in West Virginia and you are among those who voted, well, you already know all of this.
I just hope and pray the good governor will be able to carry on the legacy of his predecessor Joe Manchin in keeping the state in the black. We are among but a few states that have maintained our spending without groveling at the feet of federal lawmakers for bailouts. In other words, the Mountain State has lived within its means.
Too bad the guys and gals in Washington haven't quite learned that concept yet. It puzzles me greatly how large our federal government has become when legalized abortions continue to kill off our population.
It also challenges my thought process to comprehend how much money this country gives away to countries far away when we have people sleeping on sidewalks and at bus shelters in our own cities and towns. I saw and a man and woman - not exactly young folks - sleeping on garbage bags in the park along Morgantown's waterfront the other day. They were wet with dew, curled together to stay warm in the early morning hours.
In the past week, I have been approached three times by individuals seeking a hand-out of money. One was a woman with several small children in Center Wheeling asking for money to feed her kids. The other two requests were from the same guy who apparently waits for early-morning commuters to show up at the parking lot where I park behind WesBanco Arena. While I believe in helping out those less fortunate, my own pocketbook cannot sustain every-day requests.
These are trying times we live in.
The realities of past mistakes and the continued aloofness from those in charge of our future weighs heavily on my mind most days. Things we have been able to take for granted - decent jobs, a roof over our heads, health care and even the stores where we always shop - are not a given anymore.
What will it take to make people realize what's really important? Do you honestly care who Julia Roberts or Denzel Washington support for president or what boots the princess will be wearing this fall? I don't.
I want to know why it's not safe to eat cantaloupes and when will that persistent pothole on National Road be fixed for good. In my home state, I want assurances from our governor that our roads and education and well-being remain priorities in the coming months.
Across the country, people are fed up and protests are mounting. They are small steps in the scheme of things, but every good protest march begins with one step. And if it takes a bunch of baby boomers on Hoverounds making their way to Washington, count me in.
Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.