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State of the State: Working across partisan divide key with new GOP Legislature

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CHARLESTON, West Virginia — Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin harkened back four decades to reflect on crossing partisan divides during his State of the State address.

Addressing Republican-led majorities that haven't existed in more than eight decades, the Democrat likened his first legislative experience to that of 18-year-old Republican Del. Saira Blair. She became the country's youngest lawmaker.

Tomblin first served in the state House of Delegates under late Republican Gov. Arch Moore 40 years ago.

In his address Wednesday, he touted West Virginia's business climate and record. He warned against reports demeaning the state's legal environment, calling them unreasonable, irrational and contrived by outside interests.

He voiced opposition to eliminating highway tolls yielding more than $85 million.

He also announced a new study on expanding Marcellus shale drilling under state lands. Another study will review drilling workers' safety.

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