CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County -- and the surrounding region for that matter -- is certainly better off for having Kent Carper on the Kanawha County Commission.Carper is an energetic and enterprising leader who handles the important but routine work of the commission, such as water projects for county residents and budgeting for police cars. He also confronts the region's economic setbacks.Just during his current term, Carper refused to accept that the South Charleston Stamping Plant should be bulldozed or turned into a flea market after the last tenant left. He credits then-Gov. Joe Manchin and then-Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin for taking up the cause and securing a state loan for the property. He also credits property owner Ray Park for renovating the plant to make it more attractive to modern manufacturing.
But it was the Kanawha County Commission, under Carper's leadership, that made the case for keeping that property for manufacturing purposes. The result -- more than 2,500 people applied for the first 300 jobs expected when Gestamp announced it was moving in.Earlier this year, the Pentagon announced changes to its restructuring proposal that would leave West Virginia Army and Air National Guard units in place, with some changes. The military's decision to retain those units is directly a result of state residents keeping and improving Yeager Airport and because of cost analyses provided by Yeager Airport.Carper, a Democrat, is up for re-election on Nov. 6, and has earned the votes of Kanawha County residents. Early voting starts Oct. 24.