Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Series Preface

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pp. vii-viii

The purpose of this series is to provide information on the politics and governments of the fifty American states, books that are of value not only to the student of government but also to the general citizens who want greater insight into the past and present civic life of their own states and of other states in the federal union. The role of the states in governing America is not widely understood...

Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

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Introduction: Mountain State Politics

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pp. 1-9

From an airliner West Virginia appears to be one vast mountainous forest broken by an occasional cleared valley, with a vista marred only by whiffs of smoke from distant power plants. From an auto West Virginia is again the forest of beech, yellow poplar, sugar maple, oak, and hemlock, either sparkling with dogwood...

Part 1: The Construction of the Political Agenda

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1. Sources of the Political Agenda: Geography, History, Economy, and Political Culture

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pp. 13-32

Politics and public policymaking transpire in a specific historical, economic, and cultural environment. In this environment certain aspects of the natural and social world constitute or delimit the range of political options that most persons find appropriate for addressing the agenda of problems that they and their community face. These...

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2. Public Contributions to the Political Agenda: Participation, Parties, and Elections

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pp. 33-53

American representative government assumes that public officials have the capability and desire to act for the people. This chapter describes the links between the public and West Virginia’s government. It begins with an examination of the extent of West Virginians’ political knowledge, their perception of their...

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3. Interest Group Politics

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pp. 54-81

Interest groups have a strong effect on the state’s political agenda by communicating ideas directly to state political leaders, providing them with incentives to support the groups’ goals, mobilizing mass support for their policy positions, and influencing the outcome of elections.1 Increasingly, contending interests also use the...

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4. Intergovernmental Relations and the Political Agenda

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pp. 82-101

Although West Virginia is relatively small in both area and population, it currently has 686 governments operating within the state, not counting the federal government. It has 55 county governments, 55 school districts, 233 municipal governments, and 342 special districts.1 With so many...

Part 2: Political Institutions

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5. Constitutional Politics

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pp. 105-120

In the American political tradition a constitution is the fundamental law established by the public to define the duties of governmental officials to serve the civic good and to protect certain individual rights from encroachment. The people of West Virginia, as do all Americans, recognize two constitutions: federal and state. This chapter...

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6. The Legislature

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pp. 121-135

In constitutional theory the state legislature is the primary representative of the public’s interests. During the past thirty years many states have developed their legislatures into mini-Congresses, with career-oriented legislators, increased staff and salary, and nearly year-round sessions.1 West...

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7. The Governor and Executive Offices

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pp. 136-150

Regardless of partisan affiliation or margin of victory, the governor is the central figure in West Virginia’s political system. In acting to represent popular demands, the governor is expected to establish the state’s legislative agenda through the preparation of the executive budget request, actively participate in the legislature’s deliberations...

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8. The Administration of State Policies

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pp. 151-172

Of the institutions in West Virginia, it is the state’s administrators who provide the most immediate and enduring face of government. Highway development and maintenance, education, corrections, and health and human services are the responsibility of “the bureaucracy.” It is easy to overlook the role of state bureaucracy in meeting...

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9. The Budget Process

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pp. 173-191

There may be no subject in government that is more important yet arcane than public finance and budgeting. However, knowledge of public finance is crucial to understanding the capacity of government to meet the public’s demands. Familiarity with fiscal and budgetary matters is therefore central to understanding the characteristics and content of state politics. Budget issues tend to drive state politics. Campaigns...

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10. The Judiciary

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pp. 192-219

The just resolution of disputes is one of the most important services provided by government. State judiciaries resolve almost all criminal and civil disputes. This also affects public policymaking and the creation of an orderly social and economic life. If parties..

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11. Local Government

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pp. 220-242

There are 685 local governments in West Virginia: 55 county governments, 55 school districts (one for each county), 233 municipal governments, and 342 special districts.1 In 2007, collectively they spent more than $5 billion: $725 million by counties, $3 billion by school districts, $800 million by municipalities,...

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12. Policy Controversies and the Capacity of the State Government

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pp. 243-265

West Virginia’s politics and government are at a critical stage. Although the management-labor conflicts that marked the state’s politics from the 1880s into the 1950s have eased, West Virginia has not completely escaped the political and economic effects of nearly a century of limited economic growth and public investment in education and the quality of life. Thus...

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Suggestions for Further Reading

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pp. 267-275

In searching for the most useful published materials about contemporary West Virginia politics and government, readers will find that the secondary publications on West Virginia politics are scarce, are dated, or have theoretical or data collection problems. For further information, the...

Notes

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pp. 277-316

Index

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pp. 317-333