Candidates make pitch before primary

HARMAN – Local residents had a final opportunity Wednesday to hear from Democrat candidates running for county, state and national offices in the May 13 primary election.

The forum was located at the Harman Fire Department, and was sponsored by the Randolph County Democratic Executive Committee.

David B. Wamsley, candidate for U.S. Senate, said it was good to be back in Randolph County, where he was born.

“I am humbled by this opportunity,” Wamsley said. “I thought there are many prominent people that should run for U.S. Senate, but I am going to try and see how it goes. Shelley Moore Capito and I have one thing in common: we have both initiated and passed the same amount of legislation in front of Congress – none.”

Two candidates for the West Virginia House of Delegates spoke during Wednesday’s forum. Incumbent Bill Hartman said there are two major problems facing West Virginians – drugs and the workforce.

“I think we have to do something about drugs,” Hartman said. “We need to have rehabilitation instead of putting them in jail. If we are not careful, we are going to lose a generation. The largest complaint from small business owners is they cannot find trained workers, whether it’s a restaurant or a high tech business.”

Incumbent Delegate Denise Campbell said her goal is to be the person that tries to make a difference.

“I want to be there no matter what the issue is,” Campbell said. “I want to try to help you connect to what you need or help get you an answer. I want to help in any way possible.”

Five candidates for the Randolph County Board of Education spoke to those gathered at the Harman Fire Department Wednesday.

“The economic development of this state will be driven by education,” incumbent Ed Tyre said. “The most important thing we have going in this community is our youth. It hurts to see kids move and leave here because there are no job opportunities. That’s a challenge we are all going to have to prepare ourselves for in the future.”

Incumbent Lisa Wamsley said education is changing.

“There is a lot going on in the school system right now,” Wamsley said. “Just when you think you are getting ahead, someone throws you a curve ball. Education is something I am passionate about.”

Incumbent Dave Kesling also shared his views.

“I can put it into three words why I want to be re-elected to the board – Sydney and Andrew. My children, and my friends in the school system,” Kesling said. “I have enjoyed working on the board the past four years.”

Janie Newlon said many have questioned why she would run for a BOE seat.

“I have always been an active parent,” Newlon said. “I have been involved with LSIC at North Elementary School, I am on the boosters at Elkins Middle School, I am an active PTO member with 17 years..”

Donna Auvil said she wants to see her grandchildren do as well in school as her children did.

“I won’t make any promises to anyone,” Auvil said. “But I will promise that I will do the best that I can for all children. The Technical Center is a great thing to have. We can’t all go to college.”

Four candidates for Randolph County Commission shared their goals.

Incumbent Chris See said while on the commission, he has been working to get jobs into the county.

“We have the prosecuting attorney’s office monitoring jail bills and that will save taxpayers thousands of dollars,” See said. “We support the community corrections program. Last year, it saved $1.2 million on jail bills. I am proud to say we did all this without raising tax rates.”

Lloyd Heckel said he chose to stay in Randolph County because of its simplicity of life.

“During this campaign, many people have asked me why I want to be in politics,” Heckel said. “I believe John F. Kennedy said it best when he said ‘we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.’ I want to do this job because my family lives here, my friends live here and I want what’s best for the people of Randolph County.”

Mike Riggleman said his bidding, budgeting and estimating skills would be an asset to the Commission.

“I love this county and I want the very best for this county. This is why I chose to run for County Commission,” Riggleman said. “I want our county to have fair and open government. I want our county to have a representative who is willing to stand up for the people, the citizens of the county.”

John Andy Burns said, if elected, he wants to be a working commissioner.

“I will be in the office every day to answer questions from the public, to the many entities that the Commission oversees or educating myself on the issues,” he said. “I will not make an uneducated vote as your commissioner.”