West Virginia University Law Professor Enters West Virginia 1st District House Race
WHEELING — A second Democrat has announced she will seek West Virginia’s 1st District congressional seat in 2018.
Kendra Fershee of Morgantown serves as associate dean for academic affairs at the West Virginia University College of Law. In her announcement, she said she plans “to use her experiences as a mother, teacher, administrator and attorney to go to Washington and fight to bring quality jobs, health care, and education back to West Virginia.”
She said everyone should be able to choose where they want to live, but she doesn’t believe the people who are leaving West Virginia have much of a choice.
“I’m a family law professor, and it is motivating to me to see all the families struggling in West Virginia,” Fershee said. “For me, it’s all about freedom. People don’t feel they have freedom to stay here, and the situation is going downhill.
“They love it here, but they know they can’t stay here if they do not have access to jobs, health care and a quality education.”
Fershee, 44, is seeking the House seat occupied by Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and it is her first run for political office.
Another first-time candidate, Ralph Baxter of Wheeling, also has announced he will run on the Democratic ticket in the race.
Born in Michigan, Fershee isn’t a West Virginia native.
“But I got here as quick as I could,” she said, quoting her favorite bumper sticker.
Her husband, Joshua Fershee, also is a law professor at WVU. They have two children: Holden, 12; and Tessa, 9. The family has lived in Morgantown for five years.
Fershee is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and Tulane University Law School. In addition to her duties as an associate dean at WVU, she serves as editor-in-chief of Family Law Quarterly, a scholarly journal published by the American Bar Association.
She teaches in the areas of family law, civil procedure, professional responsibility, legal writing, research and analysis and employment discrimination.
Before becoming a law professor, Fershee was employed as a securities litigation associate at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley and McCloy in Washington, D.C. and New York. She also handled pro bono family law matters.
Prior to law school, she worked as a political organizer in Washington, D.C., and for a civil liberties organization in Los Angeles focusing on First Amendment, public education and civil rights issues.
“I know a lot of people are disappointed in what is happening in Washington, and they have been for a while,” Fershee said. “It seems to be getting tougher. And I feel our representatives in D.C. haven’t been doing what they need to do to address the drug problem, or the need to rebuild our communities.”
She sees the drug addiction crisis happening in West Virginia and nationally as the most pressing issue facing the state as the 2018 election approaches.
“People are dying every day,” she said. “But I don’t see the level of intensity from our elected officials that you’d wish you could see.”