Corruption must be eliminated for economic gains - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Corruption must be eliminated for economic gains

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  • Officers In Tazewell County Work To Keep Your Holiday Travel Safe

    Officers In Tazewell County Work To Keep Your Holiday Travel Safe

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:50:12 GMT
    Police patrolling the roads this Labor DayPolice patrolling the roads this Labor Day
    According to AAA, 34.7 million people are expected to hit the road this Labor Day. Many police officers are out in force to keep you safe.
    According to AAA, 34.7 million people are expected to hit the road this Labor Day. Many police officers are out in force to keep you safe.
  • After fatal McDowell County crash, Troopers caution against drinking and driving over Holiday Weekend

    After fatal McDowell County crash, Troopers caution against drinking and driving over Holiday Weekend

    Monday, September 1 2014 6:00 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:00:38 GMT
    While many are safely celebrating Labor Day, State Troopers want to caution everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.The West Virginia Department of Transportation says over the last 5 years in the Mountain State, almost 800 people have been killed in a drink driving crash just during Labor Day Weekend. Troopers released these pictures from Sunday morning's fatal crash to show the consequences drinking and driving can have.Read full story on Sunday morning's fatal crash in McDowell ...
    While many are safely celebrating Labor Day, State Troopers want to caution everyone about the dangers of drinking and driving.The West Virginia Department of Transportation says over the last 5 years in the Mountain State, almost 800 people have been killed in a drink driving crash just during Labor Day Weekend. Troopers released these pictures from Sunday morning's fatal crash to show the consequences drinking and driving can have.Read full story on Sunday morning's fatal crash in McDowell ...
  • Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Update: New Information Released in Raleigh County Murder Investigation

    Monday, September 1 2014 5:33 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:33:21 GMT
    Joe Collins is arrested on murder chargesJoe Collins is arrested on murder charges
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
    The Raleigh County Sheriffs Office made an arrest Sunday after a man was murdered in Glen White.Joe Collins was arrested and is being charged with 1st degree murder for the shooting and killing of Larry Totten.The incident occurred Sunday morning at Mr. Tottens residence.
  • OPINIONState Journal EditorialsMore>>

  • Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Business community must raise a voice against status quo

    Friday, August 29 2014 9:00 AM EDT2014-08-29 13:00:23 GMT
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
    As our state's business leaders gather at The Greenbrier this week for the 2014 West Virginia Business Summit, we hope they have a sense of urgency and realize what they must do to bring this state into the 21st century.
  • Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Lesson from Ferguson: Do not lose hope

    Friday, August 22 2014 8:00 AM EDT2014-08-22 12:00:24 GMT
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
    The images from Ferguson, Missouri, look like snapshots from a war zone. We still don't know why city police officer Darren Wilson killed Michael Brown, but we do know the fallout shines a glaring light on what happens when scores of people are disconnected from the American Dream.
  • Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Political bickering overshadows need for change

    Friday, August 15 2014 11:39 AM EDT2014-08-15 15:39:41 GMT
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.
    New ideas and ways to move our state and nation forward are in short supply during this election season.

Disgraced former Mingo County Circuit Judge Michael Thornsbury is slated to spend the next four years behind bars. Thornsbury spent 17 years on the bench, but this week he pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiring to deprive a man of his constitutional rights in order to protect a political ally.

He acted like a “third world dictator” and what he did was “an ugly insult to the United States Constitution,” U.S. District Judge Thomas Johnston said during Thornsbury’s sentencing.

The details of his crimes have been well documented, but Thornsbury’s operation manages to shock even in a state with a long, sad history of political corruption. George White, one of the victims in this mess, put a fine point on it when he said during Thornsbury’s sentencing, “there’s three laws in West Virginia: federal, state and Mingo County law. And Mingo County law I fear a whole lot more than federal or state — because anything is possible under that law.”

Can you imagine feeling that way as a citizen of any county or city in this country, let alone in our state? No wonder Mingo County is in the shape it’s in; so many have lost faith in the most fundamental civic concepts. Just making it is hard enough, but the odds for success are clearly stacked against you. Why would an enterprising person or group even consider investing there when it’s known the first time you cross someone at the courthouse, the goon squad comes calling? This kind of behavior is not limited to Williamson. It happens all over West Virginia.

Thornsbury and other lawbreakers need to be brought to justice, and this kind of corruption must be rooted out at all levels. But nothing is truly going to change until we address the larger issue — for so many places in West Virginia, if not the entire state, the economy is based on the government. Elected officials and bureaucrats hold sway over far too much. Their power extends well beyond rule making or rule interpretation. It’s a fiefdom. We deserver better, but nothing is going to happen until we open this state for investment. Corruption in some form or fashion will always exist, but nothing good happens when the political class not only has absolute power, but it controls who prospers and who does not.

A better West Virginia is a West Virginia where everyone has a real, lasting shot at the American Dream.