It wasn't all that long ago that residents of the Northern Panhandle saw high-profile state and national elected officials only when they were making big announcements, handing out money or on the campaign trail.
That has all changed in recent years, though, as various officeholders have made it a regular practice to visit our area of the state.
While many do come up for bigger news events, there also are those who visit with the intention of learning more about the region, and, more importantly, speaking directly with our residents about their thoughts and concerns on various issues.
The West Virginia Legislature spent a few days in our region in June during the celebration of West Virginia's sesquicentennial, and U.S. Rep. David McKinley, a Wheeling resident, makes it a point to visit the communities of the Panhandle whenever he gets a break from Washington, D.C.
Another example took place this week, and we can only hope these visits continue and expand to others we elect to be our voices.
Attorney General Patrick Morrisey spent several days in the Northern Panhandle this week, meeting with residents, speaking before civic groups and local governmental entities, and discussing a variety of issues affecting West Virginia and its people.
On Thursday, Morrisey held two town hall-style meetings - one at Brooke Hills Park in Wellsburg and one at the Mary H. Weir Public Library in Weirton - to hear directly from our residents.
Morrisey also held a similar town hall in Wheeling on Wednesday and spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Weirton.
Everything from liability insurance and drug abuse to tax rates and their impact on businesses in the Mountain State were brought up by residents attending these meetings, while Morrisey discussed his office's work on federal EPA regulations, improving economic competition between states, education reform and attracting new people to West Virginia.
It is good to see Morrisey, only months after taking office, holding such events, traveling the state and discussing the issues with the people they affect directly.
We hope other officials take note and consider making similar visits to the communities of our great state. Reach out to the people, hear their needs and learn.
Elected officials are supposed to work for the people, after all, and how can they possibly know what is on the minds of their constituents without reaching out to them every once in a while?