THEIR VIEW: CALA has it wrong again

By The West Virginia Record | Jul 29, 2008


CHARLESTON -- West Virginia Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) has it wrong again.

In an article in the July 28 edition of The West Virginia Record, CALA Executive Director Steve Cohen tried to claim that my loss in the primary election was because the voters in the 30th House district rejected me solely because I was an attorney. Cohen practices a la carte political analysis -- he goes through the line picking what suits his agenda, while ignoring everything else.

To claim that I lost my race solely because of my profession is ludicrous. This can't be accurate because these very same voters selected another plaintiffs' attorney, Mark Hunt. Cohen deliberately left that out of his spin machine.

It certainly cannot be the case with Brenda Nichols Harper either. Brenda is a smart attorney, the vice president of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce and a leading business development advocate, but she lost in the 30th District primary as well. What about Jeff Wood, an economic developer? Following Cohen's logic, their losses were a rejection of the Chamber and economic development. That's absurd!

Among other primary candidates who lost were retired educators, businessmen, teachers, lobbyists and even a college student. All of these candidates were worthy of a legislative seat because they had the courage to file for office and actively campaign for what they believed was right. Running for office is a noble endeavor, and every candidate should be commended his or her campaign. All of us wanted to be advocates for the West Virginians of the 30th District. While we all had differing opinions on specific issues, all of us believed that as legislators we could fight to improve our economy, our education system, our health care system and the daily lives of the people we would represent.

I am honored to be included among this state's trial attorneys who fight every day for justice in our courtrooms. This was my first time running for public office, and I can promise it won't be the last. I was honored to meet the voters of my district. I was honored to campaign with my opponents.

West Virginia candidates and West Virginia voters should stand up and reject Steve Cohen's senseless attack. We all deserve better than what he is attempting to dish out as fact.

Decanio is a Charleston attorney.

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