Thursday, March 31, 2011

With Honesty and Open Government for All

Since falling head over stilettos with Twitter, it’s a known fact I strongly advocate open government and increasing government transparency (especially via social media).

But tweets, Facebook posts, and Youtube videos alone obviously aren’t enough. Government transparency begins with the most simple of principles: always tell the truth. Sometimes the truth isn’t always the prettiest thing in the room, but it takes someone with integrity and a strong moral compass to do the right thing.

Over the last two years, I’ve observed several politicians and candidates across this state and across this nation in regard to their stand on open government. Some are pretty disappointing… but with West Virginia’s 2011 special gubernatorial election, one candidate stands out from the pack with a strong record on increasing government transparency: Jeff Kessler.

“We’re going to tell the people the truth,” he constantly says, referring to anything from why he’s running for governor to issues with legislation to any questions that arise from the press.

Not only is this principle ingrained in his character, he has an exceptional record for open government. Kessler sponsored and passed legislation that put West Virginia on the map as the first state in the U.S. to regulate 527 political groups requiring them to disclose sources of political funding.

Furthermore, this past legislative session, the West Virginia State Senate was able to pass ethics reform legislation requiring disclosure by paid public officials and prohibiting public office holders from lobbying for twelve months after they leave office.

Now I’ve heard many a tall tale from politicians in my sky-high stiletto days, but Jeff Kessler is grounded in honesty, integrity, and transparency.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Your vote is a terrible thing to waste

Ghandi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

We have an opportunity in 47 days to take the high road and put West Virginia on the map to be one of the leading states in the nation.

I’ve been traveling quite a bit in the last couple weeks, and there is a repetitive phrase I keep hearing, “Your candidate is the best guy for the job… He’s the most qualified for the position…”

And then there is a pause, followed by, “…but my daughter works for Candidate X and she needs to keep her job, so I guess I have to vote for them.”

West Virginia, your vote is not something to waste, nor is the future of your children and grandchildren. This election is a game changer for our state, and to vote for someone you don’t have faith in is nothing short of unacceptable. It puts West Virginia’s future at a disadvantage.

When you go vote, be it on Election Day or for early voting, think about who you’re voting for and why. Don’t think of today, think of where each candidate will lead us ten, even twenty years from now.

Your vote is a terrible thing to waste.

Monday, March 7, 2011

First Official Female 2011 Gubernatorial Campaign Manager Named By Democrat Jeff Kessler

Gubernatorial candidate Senator Jeff Kessler named Kathy Brown as his campaign manager earlier today, but who on earth is Kathy Brown?

The first official female campaign manager on the Democratic side, Brown currently maintains her own law firm, located in Charleston. Inheriting her work ethic, stubbornness, and determination from her father, she paid tribute to him by opening her own law firm on what would have been her father’s 88th birthday, March 8, 2009. Not only have l admired Brown for her amazing organization skills and variety of talents (from law to the news), but it would seem we’re both daddy’s girls.

Prior to starting her own practice, Kathy formerly worked at WSAZ, moving to West Virginia in 1980 to take the noon news anchor position. She also worked as an investigative reporter. (And just a piece of advice, you can tell her you remember her face, just don’t say you grew up watching her on the news.)

All that investigating must have turned on a light blub in Brown’s head, as she attended WVU Law School while continuing to work at WSAZ. In addition, she clerked for West Virginia Supreme Court Justice Margaret Workman, when Workman had a private practice. Brown received her law degree in 2001.

Not only does the first official female campaign manager on the Democratic side have a solid background in law and broadcast journalism, she’s worked on several campaigns, and is someone this Politico in Stilettos cannot wait to work with.

Disclaimer: While I am aware that Natalie Tennant hired Julie Sweet, I haven't officially heard if Sweet is her Campaign Manager or not. If so, then Senator Kessler hired the second female campaign manager. More power to politicos in stilettos in West Virginia!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The First 2011 WV Gubernatorial Straw Poll....

The first straw poll for the 2011 West Virginia gubernatorial race took place yesterday evening in Charleston, and the results shed light on how the people of Kanawha County may vote.

Senator Jeff Kessler received over 22% of the vote, following Treasurer John Perdue and Speaker Rick Thompson. Kessler is the only gubernatorial candidate from the northern part of West Virginia, as the other five candidates live in or south of Charleston. For the only northern candidate to receive over 22% is nothing short of spectacular!

The most shocking number of the evening was the 6.2% that acting Governor Earl Ray Tomblin received.

Overall, the evening was quite interesting. Attendees heard everything from serious campaign speeches, to the word “crossroads” used 1,000 times, to the Speaker singing “County Roads” while playing his guitar. I must admit I kept waiting for the doors of the Women’s Club to open and none other than former Governor Bob Wise to come in clogging!

There are several more straw polls already scheduled around the state between now and May 14th, and after last night, this Politico in Stilettos feels like she hasn’t seen anything yet.

For more information on the straw poll, check out the article in today’s Gazette.