With just two days left before Election Day, we wonder how many of us have taken the time to really study the issues.
Over the past week, with the help of the Associated Press, the Clarksburg Exponent and Telegram newspapers have provided in-depth question & answer sessions with each of the gubernatorial candidates as well as the candidates for the 2nd Congressional District seat.
We did so to better inform the readers on what we believe should be the underlying factors for your decision on Tuesday -- what's really important to West Virginia, not what some political handler is trying to convey to you in some smear campaign advertisement.
As we've said before, we are abhorred by the number and severity of negative advertisements this year. We wonder if any of the candidates will be able to look at themselves in the mirror the next morning and not feel the need for a good shower.
But it's time to look past that now, for on Tuesday we will have to decide which of these people will lead us for the next four years.
Historically, the Clarksburg newspapers do not endorse candidates. Instead, we try to provide readers with a forum to educate themselves on the issues that are important to all of us. Then, we urge them to vote their conscience.
As we see it, the governor's race in West Virginia comes down to one complex issue -- the economy.
We believe that with a good economy, it is possible to accomplish all other facets that are important to quality of life: Good jobs, good public services, good education.
If the economy is in a shambles, then those services are likely to be greatly reduced.
We've been here for the lean times. We've also watched the state grow under the Gaston Caperton and current administrations. Anybody who doesn't think the 1990s were better than the 1980s doesn't have a very good memory.
Just look around. During the 1990s, North Central West Virginia has grown and prospered. We've begun to venture into high technology, improved education and have lower unemployment than in the past 50 years.
And there are indications things are going to get even better. The Benedum Airport expansion opens the area to many more aviation-related and technology related jobs. And the recent announcement of a $750 million planned community in Bridgeport is just another indication to us that we are at the dawn of a new era.
As you ponder your decision on Tuesday, remember the importance of a good economy and ask yourself this: Has the state improved under the current administration and is it on the edge of breaking through to great things? Or will new leadership take us farther?
The decision is vitally important to West Virginia's future. And the decision is yours.