The Gazette-Mail endorses Sam Brown Petsonk for West Virginia attorney general.
Petsonk, a Democrat running against Republican incumbent Patrick Morrisey, has done a lot of good in his career as an attorney, fighting for workers’ benefits when companies tried to cut them out, and going to bat to get miners their black lung benefits and other health care compensation they are owed for giving their lives to the coal industry.
Petsonk realizes the office of attorney general is there to serve the people of West Virginia and has vowed to hold other branches of government accountable for dubious behavior, such as the lack of transparency surrounding the spending of $1.25 billion the state received in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Petsonk has pledged to remove West Virginia from the federal lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act — a lawsuit Morrisey joined even though voiding the ACA would leave about 200,000 West Virginians without health insurance, and have a broader, devastating impact by bringing back the days when insurance companies could avoid providing coverage for preexisting conditions.
Morrisey has kept West Virginia a party to this lawsuit despite being in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The current attorney general also has accepted low-ball settlements for lawsuits against drug manufacturers and distributors, even though the opioid epidemic has ravaged West Virginia arguably more than any other state in the country. Of course, Morrisey once lobbied for some of the companies named in the lawsuits he inherited, as did his wife.
West Virginians might have forgotten that Morrisey also promised to serve only two terms. That plan must have hinged on Morrisey getting elected to Congress, because here he is seeking a third term after failing to defeat Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., for U.S. Senate in 2018.
Petsonk is a West Virginian who has spent his career making sure the everyday people big business often steamrolls are represented and heard. Morrisey came here from New Jersey with the purpose of getting elected, has pursued action that has and will directly hurt West Virginians and now wants to entrench himself because his two-term plan didn’t work.
We urge West Virginians to vote for Petsonk. He is, by far, the better candidate.