Ryan Weld Announces Senate Bid

West Virginia Delegate Ryan Weld, R-Brooke, announced Thursday he is running for the state Senate seat representing much of the Northern Panhandle. Weld hopes to unseat incumbent Sen. Jack Yost, a Democrat who also resides in Brooke County.

Noting he and his wife, Alex, live in Wellsburg, Ryan said that “thousands of others our age left West Virginia as a result of Charleston’s decades-long mismanagement (but) she and I have decided to stay in our hometown and work hard to be a catalyst for change.”

An assistant prosecuting attorney in Brooke County, Weld also has a law office in Wellsburg. He also is an officer in the Air Force Reserve, assigned to do intelligence work in Washington. He spent most of 2010-11 as an intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

While still in law school, Weld was elected to the House of Delegates last November, as part of a sweeping political change in the state. As other Republicans were taking control of the House after decades in which Democrats held majorities, Weld was defeating his Democrat opponent 2,846-1,928. His district includes Brooke County and a region of northern Ohio County in the West Liberty area.

During his announcement today, Weld blamed Democrat dominance of state politics for multiple problem. “This state once had a vibrant manufacturing industry that is now almost non-existent. Our educational system has become saddled with many underperforming students and underpaid teachers. Our legal system has become one that promotes the filing of frivolous lawsuits that clog our court system and benefit only the attorneys filing them,” he said.

Since being elected to the House, “I’ve been a part of creating new laws that helped decrease the burdens on our manufacturers, … I’ve supported legislation that allows our schools to fill positions that have sat empty for far too long, robbing our students’ chances of learning critical math and science skills. I’ve also helped to shape our state’s legal reform efforts,” Weld added.

Pursuing such reforms is why he decided to run for the Senate, Weld said Thursday.

Yost has been elected twice to the Senate position, in 2008 and 2012. Previously, he served Brooke County in the House.

Weld, perhaps alluding to the several bitter, sometimes intensely personal campaigns for legislative posts last year, said he expects a tough battle for the Senate. Some opponents “will attack me personally, question my integrity and call me unfit to be a leader of this state,” he said, adding, “For that, I am prepared.”