Justice right on cooperation

Governor-elect Jim Justice was dead-center on target Tuesday night in reminding fellow West Virginians of something residents already knew.

Justice struck a conciliatory tone in his victory speech. “We don’t have to be at odds with each other over whether you’re rich, poor, black, white, whatever it may be,” he told a crowd of supporters. “We don’t need to be at odds with one another, whether you be Republican, Democrat, independent. We’ve got too many people on the outside throwing rocks at us, and we have to bond together.”

Then Justice led by example. He paid tribute to his Republican opponent, state Senate President Bill Cole, for service to the state. He added that he hoped he could count on Cole for advice.

For months, Justice and Cole have punched and counter-punched in a tough campaign. It was the kind of battle that can leave lasting scars.

But as West Virginians and, as Justice pointed out, the state faces too many external threats to allow it to be divided.

Cole, too, made that clear Tuesday night. After he told his supporters he had called Justice to congratulate him, Cole added this: “We may have different views on how we can fix West Virginia’s problems, but all of us do share a common hope that we can once again become West Virginia proud and West Virginia strong.”

Precisely.

There will be deep disagreements and political battles in the not-too-distant future. Justice will be working with a Legislature controlled by Republicans.

But Mountain State voters put them all in office, not to waste time and energy on unnecessary partisan battles, but to move the state forward. Good for Justice for emphasizing that.

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