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Letter to the editor: Change is essential for successful state future

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In a recent article Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha, addressed some critical issues dealing with economic development in the Kanawha Valley and West Virginia. It is important to note that economic development means change and that’s not something most West Virginia leaders are happy to embrace.

In Morgantown, change is forced on us each year with a new group of students from around the state, country and world. This energy is transmitted to the community. Likewise, when Gov. (Gaston) Caperton committed to the reconstruction of the south side entry road to Morgantown, it literally changed our view of the city. These types of physical changes alter the mindset of people toward change itself. However, Morgantown is not immune for change resistance or it would have a West Run Bypass and significantly less traffic problems today.

My personal experience with economic development in the Kanawha Valley was with the development of the proposed regional airport. Nearly all the elected officials and local media vehemently opposed it for a variety of reasons. As a student of human behavior I’m convinced their opposition had more to do with resisting a change in the status quo than anything else. They could only see the losses associated with change and not the gains.

Sen. McCabe and others like him are trying to change things with the eye to improvement and new employment essential to the future of our state. But change is hard to do for most people. One Renaissance philosopher said this about new ideas, “There is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than the creation of a new system.” Management guru Peter Drucker put it this way: “The greatest obstacle to the use of new ideas is the investment in the current way of working.”

It’s also called the tyranny of success — our current successful way of living as opposed to any new approach. To quote RFK, “Just because we cannot see clearly the end of the road, that is no reason for not setting out on the essential journey. On the contrary, great change dominates the world, and unless we move with change we will become its victims. Some people see things as they are and say why? I dream things that never were and say, why not?”

If people are not satisfied with the current economy of the Kanawha Valley they should join with Sen. McCabe and create change. For as Margaret Mead observed, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Change will happen; it will either be caused by us or by others.

Samuel G. Bonasso
Morgantown