PHILIPPI – Candidates seeking to win seats on the Barbour County Commission and the county’s Board of Education made their case to the public at a Meet the Candidate forum at Philip Barbour High School Monday.
Three Barbour County Commission candidates are vying for one open seat in the May 13 primary election. Republican incumbent Tim McDaniel said he has been a part of many projects since he has been on the commission, including providing an elevator in the Barbour County Courthouse, handicap accessibility throughout the courthouse, bringing the waste water pond up to code, maintenance of the livestock barns at the Fairgrounds, building a new 911 center, providing water extensions and relocating the Barbour County Family Court onto unleased and county owned property.
“I’m seeking re-election in hopes of continuing to serve the citizens of Barbour County,” McDaniel said.
McDaniel said he would like to see some other projects completed, such as providing additional water extensions, ,a multipurpose Fairgrounds building, a water-reserve location like the Little Laurel River project, county wide high-speed Internet and a new courthouse annex.
Republican candidate Judy Gain said she is an eternal optimist who thinks outside of the box.
“Government is of the people, for the people and by the people,” Gain said. “My wish is to represent you – every one of you – 100 percent. Please let me know what you’re thinking. I’m with you… every answer that we seek is written in God’s word.”
Gain said she would like to bring God back into government.
Republican candidate Jim Kines said his experience with maintenance work will give him an educated perspective on how ideas will work if presented before the County Commission. He also said he has managerial and business experience.
“With a lot of the turmoil that I think has been around the community, a lot of citizens are looking for some change,” Kines said.
Four candidates are competing for the three Barbour County Board of Education seats that will be on the ballot. Incumbent BOE member Joanne McConnell is seeking re-election for the North District seat.
“Every time a vote has come before us that is met with a little bit of controversy, I have had families, children and communities in mind,” McConnell said.
McConnell said that she voted against removing the middle school sports programs in the county, against moving the fifth-graders to the middle school, and against allowing the high school students to have their prom out of the county. However, she said she voted in favor of keeping all of the county schools open.
West District write-in candidate Reggie Trefethen said he could bring a business perspective to the BOE. He said he wants to prepare children for the future.
“We live in a global society today,” Trefethen said. “It’s no longer Barbour County or West Virginia. Our kids have to compete with kids all over the world for opportunities, and their education is critical.”
Trefethen said the best recruiting tool for an area is the quality of education. Trefethen said he is committed and wants to help improve the quality of education.
West District candidate Jeff Davis said he wasn’t happy with the county’s current education administration. Davis said he wanted the public to remove the county’s superintendent of schools, Dr. Joseph Super.
“I feel like we’re painting ourselves into a corner,” Davis said, later adding that “better education is going to come from a good student to teacher ratio.”
Davis said he feels the school board is not working toward that ratio, but rather is working against it.
He said funds could be better spent, and stressed it doesn’t matter whose name is on the side of a school building.
South District candidate Dave Everson was unable to attend because of a previously scheduled church responsibility and sent his regrets in a letter that moderator Mike Cvechko read on his behalf. He wrote that only God and his family could prevent him from serving in an office to which he is elected.
“I have always attempted to give my all in service to the students of Barbour County,” Everson wrote.
“I will continue to push for excellence from our education system if elected to serve on the board, and will continue to work toward that goal.”
In the letter, Everson wrote that he has more than 48 years of experience with Barbour County schools as a student, a science teacher, a substitute teacher and a board of education member from from 2008-2012. Everson wrote that he served as the BOE vice president from 2010-2012.
The Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, Barbour County Education Association and the Philip Barbour High School civics class co-sponsored the forum.