Cole right for governor of West Virginia

West Virginians cannot afford, quite literally, to make a mistake in electing their next governor. The state needs Bill Cole in the office to lead the change that is imperative for West Virginia.

For decades, the Mountain State’s natural resources, along with hard-working, skilled men and women who mined coal, produced steel and chemicals and satisfied other needs of our fellow Americans, allowed the economy to coast.

But the good old days are gone. Either change now, or the Great Depression-like trouble affecting some of the state’s southern counties will grow worse there and perhaps spread elsewhere throughout West Virginia.

Change will require strong, realistic leadership. It will require a new governor whose loyalty is to West Virginians, not to the failed Democrat political machine of the past.

More than 80 years of Democrat control of the Legislature helped put West Virginia in the deep hole out of which it is struggling to climb. Democrat politicians, allied with certain special interests, ensured they did well — at the expense of the state and most of its residents.

Nearly two years ago, Republicans took control of the Legislature. Cole became president of the state Senate. Steadily but surely, he has led campaigns to reform politics and the state economy.

Incredibly, his opponent, Jim Justice, has attempted to portray Cole and other Republicans as the political establishment that created many of its current problems.

Two years of leadership versus 83 years of Democrat domination? West Virginians are not stupid. They see the real problem. They are not about to go back to it.

Justice’s campaign has relied on promises, not policy. Voters should ask themselves what concrete program Justice has detailed.

Meanwhile, Cole has presided over reforms that will help create jobs and on real cuts in state spending.

Reform. Policy. Fiscal responsibility. Leadership. Those are words that fit Cole.

Justice? Try vague promises and an alliance with the very old-style politicians who are the problem.

Bill Cole should be governor of West Virginia because he has led reform and, as governor, will deliver real progress — not just promises.