President Barack Obama has chosen "forward" as his re-election campaign slogan - but that will not play well here in West Virginia.
As Obama's campaign was touting an alleged decrease in the unemployment rate nationally, the number of jobless Mountain State residents increased.
And as the White House and, unfortunately, a few liberals in West Virginia were insisting the war on coal and inexpensive electricity is a figment of conservatives' imaginations, the bulk of job losses in our state was in mining and logging.
State officials reported this week the unemployment rate in West Virginia went up by one-tenth of a point to 7.6 percent last month. That may not sound like much, but it represents a drop in total employment of about 3,200 men and women.
During the past year, the number of people with jobs in this state has plummeted by about 10,000. That includes 5,600 jobs in mining and logging.
Here in the Northern Panhandle, unemployment is, in general, even higher than the state average. In one local county, Wetzel, 10.6 percent of the workforce was unemployed when the most recent state report was issued.
Yet Obama insists he is moving the country "forward." And he claims he isn't involved in a campaign to wreck the coal industry.
At one point during the election campaign, Obama berated his opponent, Mitt Romney, insisting the challenger's math just didn't add up.
Romney has described himself as a friend of coal. He understands coal-fired power plants are needed to keep reasonably priced electricity flowing to tens of millions of American families and businesses. His jobs program should mean more employment throughout the nation, including here.
We Mountain State residents have had cause in the past to believe we were simply forgotten in Washington. That cannot be said of the Obama administration, which is actively working against West Virginia.
Forward? Yes - but not under Obama. Romney is the state's only hope of progress, not continuing decline.