Editorial Page — Our Opinion
Last week a freshman delegate from Berkeley County introduced a bill during the legislative session seeking citizens’ votes to determine if the Eastern Panhandle should secede and become a part of Virginia.
According to reports in The Journal, Delegate Larry Kump, R-Berkeley, stressed that this would be a nonbinding vote for constituents.
Kump’s reasoning was this would merely be to unite the Panhandle with a more economically compatible state, but that would mean stripping the region of the place it has identified with for over 150 years.
Reports show that Kump wants to bring to light West Virginia’s low economic standing.
While the state might not be the top of the list as far as economics, we at The Shepherdstown Chronicle would like to think that secession is a drastic approach to greener pastures. In fact, it was West Virginia’s state government that negotiated a deal with Macy’s that would bring economic development to the area that Kump is proposing jump ship from the rest of the state.
But maybe Kump will get an overwhelming response to go ahead with the effort. Time will tell.
But since residents of the Eastern Panhandle talk about how they often feel a disconnect with Charleston, it seems like they want to connect with the rest of the state. The suggestion of something like this makes that disconnect – whether it exists or not – worse.
On a telephone conference with reporters in November, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin addressed that very issue.
“The Eastern Panhandle is a growing part of our state, so I truly recognize the importance of trying to keep that connection of Charleston and the Eastern Panhandle alive. And I will do everything I can to make sure that I participate in whatever it may be in the Eastern Panhandle …We’re all West Virginians and we all need to be working together.”
We’re all West Virginians. Let’s try to keep it that way.