Pat McGeehan: A man of uncommon courage
To the Editor,
I was fortunate to serve in the state legislature with West Virginia’s most principled legislator, District 1 Delegate Pat McGeehan. Although, I decided not to run again, I am so pleased that he chooses to stay and continue to fight for his district. Although Pat has successfully sponsored legislation for the benefit of our state, he is known as much for defeating detrimental legislation. I have seen him oppose bills that broke conservative principles such as raising taxes, budget bills that were poorly balanced and personal property rights violations.
During my first legislative session of 2015, there were a number of us that caught the flu and Pat was no exception. Toward the end of the session there was a bill up for a vote on the House floor that violated his core principles on private property rights. I remember watching him sweat with a high fever while he filibustered the bill. That filibuster along with a lot of other work eventually lead to the bill being defeated. He nearly single handedly protected our landowner’s private property rights being trampled.
Beginning in the 2016 session, I watched him privately battle a serious heart problem. He literally couldn’t walk up a flight of steps without nearly blacking out. There were times I thought I was going to witness him collapse after the long hours we worked. After months of tests and misdiagnoses he was finally diagnosed correctly by the Cleveland Clinic with a condition that causes a thickening of the heart muscle which inevitably restricts blood flow.
After months of trying less invasive action to resolve the problem he underwent a successful heart operation in May of this year. He was placed on life support to pump his blood while the surgeon shaved off part of the thickened heart wall. From beginning to end the procedure lasted over a dozen hours. Knowing the risk of the procedure, I called him a couple days before the surgery and asked him if he was ready. His response, “I was born ready.”
Pat has courage that is paired with principled leadership. That is uncommon because you usually don’t see them paired together. He cannot be bought. He does not make deals if it includes violation of his core values. His successes are numerous despite him not going along to get along. Most of Pat’s political contributions do not come from Political Action Committees, they come from individuals that know and trust him. As you can imagine, some legislators respect him for his convictions, and others don’t.
Pat didn’t ask me to write this, in fact I asked him for permission months ago to do it and am just now getting to it. I feel strongly that you would benefit by knowing a bit more about who is representing you in Charleston.
(Kurcaba is a former member of the West Virginia House of