Actions show more than words

Late last week, during a rally with President Trump in Huntington, West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice announced he was switching political parties — going from Democrat to Republican.

To be clear, the governor actually was returning to the Republican party after approximately two years. We must remember, he changes his voter registration to Democrat shortly in 2015, shortly before announcing his intentions to seek office.

In fact, Gov. Justice has admitted to switching parties numerous times during his life.

This time, he said it was because he felt as if the Democrats in the Legislature (currently the minority party) didn’t support him enough in some of his proposals.

He also said he feels as if being a Republican (again) will help West Virginia’s relationship with the federal government, explaining he has visited with Trump administration officials recently to discuss program ideas.

If I was the governor, I would worry more about my relationship with the Legislature than the White House at this point.

This is a governor who, during his first several months in office, has been more of a showman than a leader. He has made personal comments about Republican legislative officials, carried a copy of a budget proposal out on a silver tray and covered in cow manure, discussed an intention to light the emergency beacon on top of the Capitol dome as a negotiating tactic, among other things.

What’s to say the Republican leadership will work with him now, just because he has a different letter by his name?

West Virginia needs people who are willing to work with everyone, look at as many options as possible, and find what will work best to benefit our state. We don’t need a bad Atlantic City lounge act.

I also would worry about what the voters of West Virginia think about someone who changes his political allegiance on a whim.

Political parties, traditionally, have been a reflection of a person’s values and beliefs. We are supposed to have a good idea of where an elected official stands on the issues based on that affiliation.

What does it say about someone who changes that affiliation just because they think it will help them out more in the future, or because they feel others haven’t supported them enough?

Is that really someone we want in a position of leadership?

In politics, just as in life, we can say just about anything we want. Politicians can make promises of any size and shape, and often do in an attempt to stay in office.

It’s their actions while there which will be remembered. Those actions are what the voting public will keep in mind the next time they step into the voting booth.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)