Leonhardt Joins State Senate Race

Republican Kent Leonhardt on Tuesday announced he has filed to run for the West Virginia Senate.

Leonhardt, of Morgantown, resides in the state’s 2nd Senatorial District, which includes all or parts of Marshall, Wetzel, Tyler, Monongalia, Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Marion and Ritchie counties. The seat Leonhardt has filed for currently is held by state Sen. Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel.

Edgell has told The Intelligencer he intends to seek re-election. His current term ends in 2014.

Leonhardt, a small business owner and farmer, retired as a lieutenant colonel from the Marine Corps in 1996.

“Working families in West Virginia deserve a fighting chance to have an economy that doesn’t rank 50th in so many categories and a home where our children can stay and find good jobs,” said Leonhardt.

“For the last 80 years, career politicians in Charleston have discouraged job growth by creating an unfriendly business environment in our state. With valuable natural resources and a willing work force, the 2nd Senatorial District should be flourishing.

“My years as a small businessman, farmer and career in the Marine Corps have provided me with the right mix of leadership and experience to represent the people of the 2nd District in the state Senate. I pledge to fight every day on behalf of my fellow constituents for policies that will improve the lives of our district.”

Leonhardt built a 380-acre farm from scratch in Monongalia County after retiring from the USMC. Last year, in his first political campaign, Leonhardt narrowly lost a statewide run for commissioner of agriculture.

“Growth in our agricultural economy remains a priority and farming, like our coal and gas industries, is under assault by Obama and D.C. liberals,” said Leonhardt. “We must be vigilant to make sure we not only protect our industries, but grow them.”

As a veteran of Desert Storm/Desert Shield, Leonhardt would bring a focus on veteran to Charleston.

“I am proud to live in a state that certainly goes above and beyond sending our fair share of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen to serve our nation,” Leonhardt said. “We send our human treasure to help this country, and we need to do more to welcome them home. This includes providing good jobs and a healthy environment. I guarantee I will do my best to serve veteran interests if chosen by voters to represent the 2nd Senatorial District in 2014.”