It is a critical time for our state.

We have the opportunity to invest in ourselves, our future and the futures of our children.

Or we can continue to reduce investments in teachers, in services for our vulnerable citizens and in the kind of future we all want for our lovely and precious state and people.

Stuart Smalley, the fictional Saturday Night Live character invented by Al Franken, is famous for affirming his self worth by saying, "I am good enough, I am smart enough and doggone it, people like me."

Al Franken as Stuart Smalley. Copyright NBC.

It is time for West Virginians to say and feel the same thing. To commit to investing in not only surviving, but thriving.

We have internalized stories that have been told about us, but these stories are only as true as we believe them to be.

I have been back in West Virginia for more than two years, and one thing I have seen everywhere I visit is that we are smart enough. There is so much talent here.

We are good enough. There is a goodness here, even if it is hidden a little right now by the feelings of isolation and scarcity.

We are turning this around. It is time for us to invest in ourselves and our futures.

We are worth this better future of love and hope for our citizens.

Let's invest in education. In jobs. In health.

Let's rebuild our infrastructure.

Let's clean up our communities.

Let's rediscover what made us rank as the hardest workers in the country.

As people that live and breathe hospitality.

Let's become Mountaineers and pioneers again to show the world how to create a better future.

Let's lead.

It is our time.