Acting West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler's optimism for the future of West Virginia can be summed up in two words he learned as a student at West Liberty University - supply and demand.
Kessler, D-Marshall, spoke Wednesday to the Moundsville Rotary Club, giving an informal "state of the state" address in which he predicted the future of West Virginia to be bright in more ways than one.
"We have in this state what everyone else needs: energy," he said. "I believe in the idea of supply and demand, and we have that supply."
Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough
Acting West Virginia Senate President Jeff Kessler speaks Wednesday to the Mounds-ville Rotary Club.
Kessler was optimistic on coal production as a viable industry and catalyst for growth in West Virginia. He said despite regulations that have a negative impact on coal production, he believes the federal government is starting to realize the importance of coal.
"There are no other viable short-term solutions for energy production," he said, adding if given a chance to compete on a fair playing field with other sources of energy, West Virginia would become the major source of energy production in the county.
"West Virginia is the envy of many other states in the union for what we have," he said.
Kessler's term as acting senate president will come to an end Sunday when recently elected Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin is sworn in to his new position. With Tomblin taking the governor's seat, the Senate will need to elect a new president, a position he hopes to earn despite facing opposition. Kessler defended the special elections to replace Sen. Robert C. Byrd and Gov. Joe Manchin and the accompanying costs as necessary to the political process.
"A few million dollars is a drop in the bucket to make sure people are heard," he said. "It is the cost of democracy."