Nearly three years into a flood recovery effort here in southern West Virginia, a number of officials at the federal, state and local levels have proven they are in over their heads administratively and that they do not possess the necessary compassion, will or know-how to get the job done.

(Earlier this month), the Senate had an opportunity to vote on the Green New Deal — an unrealistic and impractical wish list dressed up as environmental policy. And it’s a wish list that would have serious consequences for West Virginians and Americans across the country.

We have an accumulation of wisdom distilled from centuries of human experience. We call it the U.S. Constitution.

In the year I have served as the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator, I’ve witnessed tremendous change and growth within the small business community. Visiting businesses across the region, I am amazed by both the entrepreneurs who drive our economy and t…

While most discussions inside education reform hearings held around the state these past couple of weeks have focused on support services for children suffering from the trauma of growing up in broken homes, the benefits and drawbacks of charter schools and the advantages and disadvantages o…

Governor Andrew Cuomo “insisted Monday (April 1) that New York will pass a law to legalize recreational pot before the Legislature adjourns in June,” The New York Post reports. He’s been promising legalization for some time. Many New Yorkers had hoped the measure would be included in this ye…

Lyft recently announced that it would be going public. Uber isn’t far behind. In little more than a decade, the two companies have upended the transportation sector — and transformed how we think about both transportation and work.

If only we could just talk about academics in our statewide conversation about education reform, K-12, and – with confidence – encourage students to work hard, have fun, make friends and learn. Shoot for the stars. Yes, pursue a college education because we, the adults, will make certain tha…

Since leaving the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011, I've dedicated my professional life to fighting for full implementation and enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 – a law I had the honor of authoring with Congressional colleagues in true bipartisan spirit.

Sometimes we have to measure the success of a state legislative session, at least in part, by what lawmakers did not do, what bills they killed – usually by assigning bad legislation to a committee whose chair knows a thing or two.

George Washington was lauded as “first in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen,” in the words of Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee. But even our nation’s first president couldn’t prevail over the desire for a three-day weekend.

Coal mining continues to be one of the most hazardous professions in our society. Even today, while the number of large-scale mining disasters and the number of deaths have certainly declined, coal miners continue to face a work environment that is inherently toxic and unhealthy. Coal miners…

For much of the debate this legislative session, policymakers are leaning on gut instinct rather than the due diligence that we expect of them. They should read up, consider expert testimony, consult research, study science and – God forbid – walk in the footprints of constituents.

It’s been many decades now, but I still remember a piece of advice I got not long after entering Congress. It came in passing from a prominent journalist as we were talking about the bewildering array of issues Congress faced. Every day, he told me, I should ask myself a simple question: “Wh…

A wide range of events is causing an increasing number of people to believe that climate change is happening and that something should be done about it. Those events include record-breaking hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires, temperature changes, movement of animals to cooler areas, mov…

This past week, our hunger relief organization convened to discuss strategies that could impact our state in the next few years. We opened with a general discussion of what the problems are in West Virginia that lead to or stem from hunger. The more common topics came up immediately, includi…

What better way to stress the urgency and existential need for a national emergency than to wait until the third year of a four-year term in office to announce “I didn’t need to do this” before taking off to play a few rounds of golf over the holiday weekend.

A half century ago, Congress was in the midst of a major debate about Coal Mine Health and Safety. A key component was the high incidence rate of black lung. Passage of the act was heralded as a major victory to curb the presence of this incurable and potentially fatal occupational disease a…

By the time you read this column, the U.S. House of Representatives will almost certainly have passed the following Joint Resolution: “Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, pursuant to section 202 of the National Emer…

Someday I will write a book full of behind-the-scenes stories from the capitol. It will be long, wild, and completely true. But for now, I better stick to a short, calm, and completely true column of major issues in the Senate this week.

There’s nothing worse for a corrupt politician than meeting someone who can’t be bought. It’s like watching a cat fall in a bathtub: you see first shock, and then anger, as though the world itself has betrayed him. A sellout simply assumes that everyone else is also selling and he bristles a…

Way back before the beginning of time, in early 2015, West Virginia began to talk about the Governor’s race. Earl Ray Tomblin was finishing up and the seat would be open. After a resounding defeat in the 2014 mid-terms, under former Party Chairman Larry Puccio, that saw Republicans capture b…

Automobiles are a tremendously useful invention. They make it possible for us to go when and where we want to go. People didn’t have much reluctance to give up a horse and buggy when automobiles became available. We built 2.7 million miles of paved roads and streets to support those automobiles.

We remain convinced that the omnibus education bill passed Monday in the Senate was pieced together by politicos with special interests at the controls, that education experts were not credibly included in its policy formation and, at the end of the day, the provisions inside the nearly 200-…

Each of the great politicians and legislators I’ve known over the course of my career in Congress was very different. They were masters of the rules, or unassailably knowledgeable about a given issue, or supremely watchable orators, or consummate students of people. But they also shared key …

Five years ago, while serving as a member of the Greenbrier County Board of Education, I saw the paradoxical nature of our education system in West Virginia.

When politicians rush a massive bill through a piece of the legislative process in a single day, concerned citizens have every right to ask, “Why the hurry?” Or, better: “What are you putting in that sausage?” Natural curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism trained by a history of politic…

On Jan. 23, the President of Venezuela's National Assembly, Juan Guaido, was sworn in as "interim president." In what was presumably a pre-coordinated move, Guaido's administration was quickly recognized by the governments of the United States, Canada, and several countries in Latin America.

Well, Trump blinked. In his standoff with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) over the 2019 State of the Union address, the president finally conceded that he doesn’t get to deliver the speech before a joint session of Congress unless he’s invited to do so — technically by the House and Senate…

More than 30 million Americans suffer from type 2 diabetes. And millions more have elevated blood sugar levels, so they’re at high risk of developing the disease. Our Hispanic population is particularly vulnerable. They are 66 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispan…

Gov. Jim Justice, a big dreamer who won office as a Democrat before stepping across the political stage into the welcoming arms of President Donald Trump, borrowed campaign sound bites from both camps during his state of the state address, promising to spend a boatload of excess revenue doll…

Looking back at 2018’s weather-related news, it seems clear that this was the year climate change became unavoidable. I don’t mean that the fires in California, coastal flooding in the Carolinas, and drought throughout the West were new evidence of climate change. Rather, they shifted the na…

In the 2018 election, America’s shrinking segment of white evangelicals mobilized strongly for the Republican Party – but the rising cohort of nonreligious Americans failed to exert their full political power.

Haym Salomon was a successful New York merchant when the American Revolution began. He supported the revolutionary cause, and in 1776, he was arrested by the British who were then dominant in New York. He was eventually released, but he was again seized and imprisoned in 1778 and sentenced t…

Earlier this month, in compliance with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and an August ruling from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, hospitals across the country … began publishing the estimated costs of their services.

Throughout the past year, I have experienced – firsthand – what it’s like to work side by side with a millennial. It’s quite revealing, a bit troubling, and more than challenging. And yet, I am hopeful that, in time, understanding – mutual understanding – of differences might be gifted. We’ll see.