Amazon: West Virginia should make pitch for HQ

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was right last week to ask Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to consider the Mountain State as a location for the company’s second headquarters. Amazon pulled out of plans to build in New York City.

One would hope Bezos appreciated Manchin’s gentle dig that choosing Long Island in the first place “lacked the forward-thinking that has marked your career.”

Now, because NYC showed its true colors and Bezos had time to change his mind, there is an opportunity.

“You now have another chance to have a lasting impact on not just a city, but an entire region,” Manchin told him.

Manchin did not sugar-coat West Virginia’s challenges. He acknowledged our struggling economy and its failure to transition, diversify and thrive; he mentioned our substance abuse epidemic. But he told Bezos what we all already know.

West Virginia is so much more than our challenges — and the few headline-grabbing individuals who do NOT represent what is in most Mountain State residents’ hearts.

Manchin told Bezos about our “incredible potential,” and the beauty and quality of life our state can provide. (He also mentioned our business-friendly tax and regulatory structure — and wouldn’t it be nice to see that structure benefit a broader range of employers than those we have always known?)

Manchin should not be standing alone in this pitch. Gov. Jim Justice, the commerce department and local officials in regions that meet Amazon’s needs should be pitching themselves, as well. We should all extend an invitation to Amazon officials to visit — to meet some real West Virginians, experience all our wild and wonderful land has to offer and build a relationship that would do good things for everyone involved.

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