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While education is important, a diploma is not a guarantee of intelligence, and the lack of a degree is not a sign of failure. Accordingly, I was disheartened to read Sunday in the Charleston Gazette-Mail a snide commentary by Phil Kabler about Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, who could be the next Senate President. Kabler pointed out Blair’s lack of a college degree, dismissing his possible election as evidence of “Republican anti-intellectualism.” If by that Kabler meant that Blair does not value education, he is dead wrong.

As part of the Senate leadership team, and a strong supporter of 2019’s “Last Dollar In” legislation that was designed to make education for certain high-demand careers more affordable, Blair is committed to providing better opportunities for West Virginians.

Blair is someone who recognizes, perhaps better than others, the value of an education, and has worked hard to make it available to the very people who need the most help in getting to, and through, school. 

Phil Kabler makes the common mistake of confusing intellectual ability with college degrees. Not every intelligent person gets a college degree. Valuing someone solely on whether, or where, they obtained an advanced degree is intellectual snobbery that disparages the contributions of the self-educated and cheats us of the benefit of their wisdom and abilities.

It takes one set of skills to rise to a position of leadership and achieve success. It requires far less ability to sit in the stands and heckle those who do.

Rebecca McPhail