Say you lose a key employee. Sure, the rest of the staff can pick up the slack for a while, but that position needs to be filled as fast as possible because other employees can't be expected to do an adequate job covering the open position and doing their work as well.

This is where we, the people of West Virginia, now find ourselves. We've lost a key employee, our governor, and we want to replace him as fast as we can, so the job of governor gets done properly and the person filling in temporarily can get back to his own duties.

Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin now is standing in for former Gov. Joe Manchin, who has won election to the U.S. Senate seat formerly held by the late Robert C. Byrd. As acting governor, however, Tomblin will not be able to preside over the state Senate or fulfill his obligations to the citizens of the 7th Senatorial District.

We need a new, elected governor as soon as possible, and Tomblin needs to get back to the duties his constituents and colleagues entrusted to him.

Not surprisingly, Tomblin has developed a fondness for his new, elevated position and already is maneuvering to make his temporary status permanent. He says current laws "clearly provide" that the election to replace Manchin as governor should be in 2012.

That's about two years from now, more than enough time for Acting Governor Tomblin to tighten his control on the office and burnish his statewide political image if he were to run in 2012.

"I am well aware of the strong desires of some wishing to have an election prior to 2012," Tomblin concedes. "For me, it comes down to what the people want. If my fellow West Virginians express an overwhelming desire to have a quick election, I will work with the Legislature to make that a reality."

There you have it. We need to express our "overwhelming" desire for a quick election. Earl Ray Tomblin needs to put our desires above his own.

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