With the state legislative session now underway, Eastern Panhandle residents need their representatives to fight for them.
Charleston is far away from here, and sometimes the residents of Jefferson County and other Panhandle counties feel disconnected with the rest of the state.
Just as the staff at The Chronicle charged the town with some resolutions for the new year, we hope the 80th West Virginia Legislature can empathize with the Eastern Panhandle's diverse nature and make strides in the following areas this session.
Redistricting. What the Eastern Panhandle needs is more representation. The districts need to be drawn to show little population in our designated districts so it is such that the area is overrepresented. The area has grown significantly over the past decade. Jefferson County alone has seen an increase of almost 10,000 residents since 2000. Proper representation of these people means more bodies down in Charleston.
More for our teachers and state workers. We at The Chronicle know that this has been an issue for this area time and time again. And we know that while higher pay and better benefits may not be accomplished in this session, we would at least like to see strides made in the right direction. The average teacher salary in the state is among the lowest in the nation, and our area, albeit more lucrative than most of the rest of the state, falls into that average.
Those are just two major things we would like to see accomplished this session. Of course, we would like to see actions made as far as making a decision for the special gubernatorial election, other post-employment benefits and environmental issues that affect the area and state.
We look forward to what will happen in these next couple of months during the 80th term of the legislature.