Capito looks out for West Virginians

U.S. Rep. Shelley Capito, who is seeking a seat in the U.S. Senate from West Virginia, works hard to represent her fellow Mountain State residents. Sometimes that has meant going against the leadership of her Republican Party – but Capito has not hesitated to do that when she believed her state’s interests were at stake.

That attitude is in the tradition of one of the most revered public servants in West Virginia history, the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd. He was famous for refusing to take orders from senators or even presidents of his beloved Democrat Party, when he believed acting independently was important to his state and nation.

Contrast Byrd’s courage with the stance taken by Natalie Tennant, the Democrat nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Tennant has refused – positively, absolutely – to say she would vote against keeping Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., as majority leader of the Senate.

Many West Virginians consider President Barack Obama to be the worst chief executive in recent history. His war on coal and affordable electricity would virtually wreck our state. His health care law, Obamacare, is extremely unpopular here.

Indeed, Mountain State residents have many reasons to wish Obama had not been elected president.

But it also must be recognized that if Obama has a right-hand man in Washington, it is Reid. The majority leader always has the president’s back – chiefly against maverick Senate Democrats who would join Republicans in reining in the White House.

It has been suggested Congress should take action to stop Obama’s war on coal. As long as Reid is majority leader, that will never happen. The same is true of any legislation in opposition to the president.

Yet Tennant stands behind Reid. Loyalty to her party’s leader in the Senate apparently is more important to her than walking in Byrd’s great footsteps.

Tennant says she opposes Obama on many issues. That claim is incompatible with her support for Reid.

West Virginians need a courageous defender in the Senate. Capito’s record indicates she will be just that. Tennant’s own statements make it clear that, if elected, she would not.