THIS legislative session seems more focused on keeping the Democratic Party in power for another 80 years than it does on serving the needs of the second-poorest people in the nation.
Poverty is a multibillion-dollar industry in this state that Democrats work harder to protect than they do the coal industry.
Bring jobs to West Virginia?
Are you crazy?
That would mean people won't need food stamps or Medicaid. Then what will happen to all those Democrats on the state payroll?
In this legislative session, I also see the future — and that future is brighter because young Republicans are getting elected.
On the Democratic side, we have a party that looks more and more like the apparatchik in the Soviet Politburo, which had an average age of 80.
On the Republican side, we have bright idealists with fresh ideas, including many delegates who are the age of my children.
Really. Four-term Delegate Troy Andes, R-Putnam, 31, is younger than my daughter.
State party chairman Conrad Lucas also is younger than she is.
In at least one case last fall, a young Republican defeated an incumbent who was in the Legislature before his challenger was born.
The state's young Republicans are getting national recognition.
Rookie Delegate John B. McCuskey, R-Kanawha, spoke at the Conservative Political Action convention last week — shortly after Sarah Palin.
CPAC cited him as one of the party's rising stars under 40.
McCuskey pointed out that he won in a district that has twice as many registered Democrats as it has Republicans. He won by 41 votes.
"My wife, Wendy, and I knocked on over 10,000 doors," McCuskey told CPAC. "There is no better way to get to know my constituents, and have them get to know me."
And the people he got to know suffer from 80 years of Democratic Party economics.