Most of the really high unemployment in West Virginia is in the coalfields - but Wetzel and Tyler counties are close behind them. Our two counties share a 7.5 percent unemployment rate.
Clearly, the economy in our region needs a shot in the arm.
One candidate for governor, Bill Cole, has the agenda we need. His is plan based on reality, not the pie-in-the-sky empty promises being made by his opponent.
Electing Cole as governor is important for two reasons. One is that regardless of what we do here in West Virginia, the federal government's ongoing assault shackles our economy.
If Hillary Clinton is elected president, as seems possible, we will get more of the same ultra-liberal policies that have devastated our state and contributed to the decline in our counties.
What Wetzel and Tyler counties need is more of the same reform that has been in progress in Charleston for nearly two years. More action to make West Virginia attractive to job creators is essential.
For more than 80 years, both houses of the state Legislature were controlled by Democrats. During most of that era, the state's economy was carried by coal, which also provided jobs for a substantial number of local residents.
But President Barack Obama's war on coal and affordable electricity brought that to a halt. Thousands of miners have been laid off. Electricity prices already are beginning to climb as more and more coal-fired power plants are shut down by Obama's Environmental Protection Agency.
High prices for power are job killers, as local residents are painfully aware. Reasonable electric rates helped provide more than 1,000 jobs at the Ormet plant in Monroe County, until higher prices closed the facility.
New political and economic realities mean the old ways of doing things simply will not work anymore.
When voters two years ago revolted against Democrat machine politics in West Virginia, Republicans gained control of the Legislature. Cole became president of the state Senate.
In that post, he has led reforms to make the Mountain State more attractive to businesses. He has battled the Obama administration's assault on our economy and on individual rights such as the Second Amendment.
Electing Cole governor will allow him to proceed with that campaign.
His opponent, billionaire Jim Justice, has been running what amounts to a "trust me" campaign. A search for specifics in Justice's platform is as fruitless as trying to collect the more than $15 million in delinquent taxes and unpaid mine safety fines he owes our state, others and the federal government.
Justice claims he would oppose continued federal regulations that hurt our economy. But would he? Can a Democrat be expected to oppose another Democrat, Hillary Clinton, if she is elected?
West Virginians have had enough of "trust me" politics. We need a leader with the vision and courage to make the changes we need.
The Wetzel Chronicle endorses Bill Cole for governor because his record indicates he is that leader.