Column by Attorney General Morrisey: W.Va. Must Go for the Gold
This month, millions of Americans will take time out of their schedules to watch the greatest athletes in the world compete in one of history’s best events — the Olympics.
The Olympics are a time when the impressiveness of our nation is on display for the entire world to see. Athletes who compete have spent their lives preparing for this moment, as have their families and friends who support them through good times and bad.
Of course, no one is born an Olympian. It’s neither inherited nor given out for free by the government. To be part of Team USA, you must be willing to risk everything and outwork all of your rivals so you can achieve the singular goal of standing on a podium while “The Star-Spangled Banner” plays over the loud speaker. Talent, determination, and a philosophy of always making that extra effort are prerequisites for realizing greatness.
West Virginians can learn a lot about maintaining our focus on helping our state reach its economic potential from our sons and daughters who have competed in the past at this global event. Whether it is Mary Lou Retton, of Marion County, who in 1984 became the first female outside of Eastern Europe to win the gold medal in the individual all-around gymnastics competition; James Jett, of Jefferson County, who won a gold medal in 1992 as part of the U.S. Track and Field 4 x 100m relay team; or the late Glenn Davis, who was born in Brooke County and won three gold medals in the 1956 and 1960 Olympics; or any of the other many Olympians who hail from the Mountain State, West Virginians have a great track record of setting a goal and then exceeding expectations.
On economic issues, our state can accomplish the same. By working together, by setting our sights on a vision of economic prosperity, and by never wavering in our quest to be the best state in the union, West Virginia can reach its own platform of victory. We can create a vibrant and diverse economy that generates incredible wealth and lifts our citizens out of poverty. We can establish and maintain jobs that enable our children to stay in West Virginia or move back. We can fight back against substance abuse that is threatening the soul of future generations, and combat health ailments that cause our population to die too young.
The road to prosperity won’t be easy. We may get sidetracked along the path, and opponents will try to thwart us to maintain the status quo. But just like the Olympic athletes who don’t give up when things get tough, neither will we. West Virginia has the skill, the heart, and the strength to win any competition we enter.
As we focus our attention during the next several days on Sochi, Russia, and the amazing competitions taking place there, I hope we can find inspiration from Team USA as well as all of our athletes. They have sacrificed so much to compete in the Olympics. They have invested their hearts, minds, and bodies to fulfill this dream.
What dreams do you have? What steps can you take today to bring your dream closer to reality? What can you do to help West Virginia rise in the economic rankings? We have gold within our reach here in West Virginia; we just have to grab it.
Patrick Morrisey is the Attorney General of West Virginia.