Buckhannon resident and retired West Virginia University Extension Service Agent Barbara Loudin has announced her candidacy for Upshur County Commission.
"Upshur County has been home for 39 years. It has been the place where I've worked and raised my children," Loudin said. "During that time, I worked as a West Virginia University Extension agent until I retired. More recently I serve as a volunteer at the Parish House and in our church. In these roles I have met families from every corner of the county. I often said I was learning, as much or more than I was teaching. The families were dedicated to donating their time and resources as volunteers to improve their communities. This inspired me to invest my energy and experience in running for a seat on the County Commission. I have credentials and qualities that would be valuable in this position.
"As an Extension Agent, I had the privilege of working with entire families. These individuals were serving as 4-H leaders, Extension Homemakers, community leaders, 4-H'ers, parents of 4-H'ers, teen leaders, Energy Express employees, or were learning new practices in agriculture. Families here are hard working and dedicated to learning and to helping their county grow. They want to be informed about the decisions made in county government and have their opinions heard," she said.
Loudin said she offers the following credentials to voters: More than 30 years experience as an office and program manager. This includes preparing budgets, writing grants, hiring and evaluating employees, and recruiting volunteers.
"I worked cooperatively with the county organizations and agencies to maximize available resources. I increased our budget annually by matching county and state funds with grants. This enabled our office to provide educational programs and services to over 3,000 families a year," she said. "In addition, my experience includes teaching classes, conducting workshops and writing weekly newspaper columns. I served on the WVU Faculty Senate for six years. Currently, I assist the Parish House as the coordinator of their health and wellness programs and serve on committees. I am a member of the First United Methodist Church, where I serve as president of United Methodist Women. I am also a board member of Region VII Aging Services Inc., and a member of American Association of University Women.
"I was raised on a farm in Lewis County. The produce we raised on that farm helped make a four-year college degree possible. After that I completed two master's degrees going to classes at night while working," she said. "I am the product of hard work, determination and compassion. I always asked young adults who were employed in our programs the following question: At the end of the day would you be willing to put your signature on your work for all to see?' I am a skilled listener and, if elected, will encourage residents to be more involved in county government. My work ethic includes assisting our community in achieving the best quality of life possible. It is imperative for county government to set goals that will promote both growth and fiscal responsibility. I believe in being fair, firm and responsive.
Loudin and her husband, Larry, moved to Upshur County in 1970. They have two children, Karen Loudin Hartley of North Carolina and Keith Loudin of Washington, D.C.; and three grandsons.
"If elected, my goal is to communicate County Commission business in a transparent manner that everyone can understand. I offer a new choice, a woman with experience, energy and enthusiasm."