Democrat Justice, Republican Cole seek to be West Virginia's next governor

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West Virginia-(WTAP) Jim Justice and Bill Cole both agree: improving West Virginia's economy is their goal for the next four years. They don't exactly agree on how to do it.

Justice owns or has purchased several coal mines in the state, and is most famous for buying and revitalizing the Greenbrier resort.

Cole, a car dealer and current president of the West Virginia Senate, says the legislature already has taken steps to improve the state's business climate-but adds more are needed.
"We have to make sure West Virginia is the right place to do business," Cole said while in Parkersburg Sunday. "We're incredibly overregulated, we have worked hard to make our legal system come into a reasonable position nationwide. But we have work to do."

Justice says an emphasis on two things: more attention to the state's natural resources-beyond coal-and agriculture, as well as more attention to tourism, will improve West Virginia's economic standing.

He does not believe any of the recent actions by the Republican legislature, including enacting a right to work law, will have any effect on creating jobs.

"You have to grow revenue. You have to grow opportunity," he said while in Parkersburg last week. "You have to think big enough and have the contacts to bring real jobs, real promise, real hope to us. What we're doing will never work."

Whoever is elected Tuesday will have his work cut out for him. Even before the recent downturn in the coal industry, West Virginia was ranked 50th in business climate.

Current governor Earl Ray Tomblin cannot seek another term.

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