25 Office-Seekers Speak in McMechen

One candidate pledged to donate his salary to charity if voters elect him to the Marshall County Commission, while another said he believes the county needs to develop a centralized water system to increase reliability.

In all, 25 candidates on the May 13 primary election ballot in Marshall County turned out Monday for the McMechen Woman’s-Club-Moundsville/Marshall County Public Library-sponsored meet the candidates event at the McMechen Volunteer Fire Department. Office-seekers received four minutes to address the audience, though only a few used the full allotment of time.

Republican county Commissioner Don Mason is not seeking re-election this year. Democrats Mike Eskridge, former Delegate Scott Varner and Dennis “Denny” Wallace are running to replace Mason, while Moundsville resident Fred Brunner is the lone Republican on the ballot.

Eskridge told voters he would donate his initial year’s salary to county charities if voters elect him, adding, “I am all about working and all about service.”

Wallace, a former Moundsville mayor and councilman, said small cities with aging water plants, such as McMechen, need help with their water supplies.

“We need to look at a centralized water system for this county,” he said.

Varner touted his record of service in the Legislature. He said he helped balance the state budget by reducing debt, adding, “It is important for us to work together.”

Brunner said he is proud to serve on the Moundsville Comprehensive Plan Review Committee, adding the county needs to focus on further economic development to benefit residents.

Those seeking election to the House of Delegates include Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall, Delegate David Evans, R-Marshall, Democrats David Sidiropolis and David Hall, as well as Republican Ron Morris.

“The roads are horrible in our area,” Evans said, adding he continues trying to get the West Virginia Department of Transportation to spend more money and time repairing roads throughout his district.

Ferro did not disagree with Evans concerning the road problems, but chose to focus more on what he has done during his time in office.

“I represent all the cities in Marshall County,” he said. “Sometimes, people ask me how my campaign is going. You campaign every day of your life.”

Sidiropolis said while he has yet to hold elective office, he will continue working for the support of the public.

“I am going to be here for a long time, folks,” he said.

As a retired educator and former member of the Marshall County Board of Education, Hall said education would remain a priority of his if voters send him to Charleston. However, he also said he understands other issues facing the county, including the rights of mineral owners and surface owners as it pertains to oil and natural gas drilling.

Morris said he is retired from the Bayer Corp., adding he hopes to put his business experience to work in the Legislature.

“I have a strong desire to help our state have a brighter future,” he said.

Running for three seats on the Marshall County BOE are incumbents Roger Lewicki, Thomas Gilbert and Beth Phillips, along with challengers Thomas Stalnaker, Beth Bertram, Carl Boso, Duane Miller and Chelsea Toth. Miller and Toth did not attend the session.

Seeking to replace outgoing McMechen Mayor Michael Gracik are 2nd Ward Councilman Gregg Wolfe and Josephine “Jo Marie” Mackin. Both candidates pledged to do their best if voters elect them.

Running for election in McMechen’s 1st Ward are Councilwoman Nancy Boreman, Mike Mamula, Aaron Kwiatkoski, Courtney Keller, Tim Smith and Karen Phipps. Other 1st Ward incumbent Eric Thornton is not seeking re-election.

Both 2nd Ward seats are up for grabs, as Wolfe is running for mayor, while Councilwoman Jill Hawkins is not running for another term.

Voters will elect two out of three of David Goddard, Beth Martin and John McCombs Jr. In the 3rd Ward, voters will select two out of three from Councilwoman Alice Hill, Councilwoman Pat Wilson and challenger Kevin Bratton.