WHEELING - Republican David B. McKinley believes it's time for someone to "call an audible" in the political game being waged in Washington, D.C. - and he'd like a chance to make that call.
McKinley, a Wheeling business owner, former West Virginia delegate and state Republican Party chairman, officially announced Saturday that he is running for Congress, seeking the seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va. McKinley asserted that the liberal agenda of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not fit the current situation in West Virginia and the nation and pointed out that Mollohan has voted in support of Pelosi's plans 98 percent of the time. He likened the "partisan bickering" on Capitol Hill to a football game and said it's time to change the game plan.
"Who is looking out for our interests in Washington?" he asked the roughly 40 people who visited the Maxwell Center in Wheeling on Saturday morning to hear his announcement. "After 28 years (with Mollohan in office), it is time for a change."
(Photo by Jennifer Compston-Strough)
David B. McKinley announces his run for Congress outside his office in the Maxwell Center in Wheeling on Saturday morning as family members look on. They include, from left, wife Mary, daughter-in-law Katy and son Bennett. The Republican McKinley hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Alan Mollohan, D-W.Va.
McKinley, who was accompanied by several family members, stressed that common sense and a conservative outlook would shape his decisions during a term in Congress. He pointed out that, during his 14 years in the West Virginia House of Delegates, he voted against raising salaries for legislators and the state food tax, and he also opposed state budgets that expanded government, increased spending and raised taxes.
He called ongoing attempts to reform the nation's health care system a "debacle" and pointed to nationalization of the banking and automotive industries, as well as the rising national debt, as concerns he would address if elected.
"There are ways to solve the problems in Washington, but it is going to require an unwavering conservative voice," McKinley said. "I was a conservative yesterday, I'm a conservative today, and I will be a conservative tomorrow. I will be that voice for the people of the 1st Congressional District."
McKinley was born in 1947 and raised in Wheeling, where nine generations of the McKinley family have lived. He is a graduate of Purdue University with a degree in civil engineering. He worked in the construction industry and taught night classes at local technical colleges before establishing McKinley and Associates, an architectural and engineering firm with offices at the Maxwell Center, in Charleston and in Washington, Pa.
He is a past chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party, and in 1996 he sought the governor's office, losing the Republican primary to Cecil Underwood.
McKinley is the father of four children - David H., Amy, Elizabeth and Bennett - and has five grandchildren. David H. McKinley was on hand with his wife, Meredith, and children, Davy and Anne, for the announcement. He introduced his father and urged members of the audience to support him as an "experienced, electable conservative."
Also present were the candidate's wife, Mary, as well as their youngest son, Bennett, and his wife, Katy. In announcing his run, David B. McKinley noted that his daughters were unable to attend but would be involved in the campaign "electronically" from the West Coast.
McKinley said he is seeking election so he can represent the interests of West Virginia families like his own on the national level and help the people of the Mountain State get back to work.
"Make no mistake, this campaign is about jobs and the economy," he said. "Those are issues people are concerned about. ... We need to protect the jobs that already exist and work to create new ones. I don't think the bureaucrats in Washington quite understand that. When unemployment swells to over 10 percent, Congress needs to change its priorities."
In West Virginia, he noted, protecting jobs means protecting the coal industry.
"We have to stand up and fight back in this war on coal being waged by Congress and the EPA," he added. "Cap and trade will kill our coal industry and destroy our economy. We must stop it, period."
McKinley plans to take his campaign announcement to more Mountain State residents next week. On Monday, he will visit Morgantown and Clarksburg; Tuesday, he will make a stop in Parkersburg. Visit www.mckinley2010.com for more information.
In addition to McKinley, Mac Warner of Morgantown has filed as a Republican in the race. Republicans who filed as pre-candidates - but who are not yet listed as official candidates - are Cindy Hall of Wheeling; Randy "Scott" Smith of Terra Alta; Thomas Stark of Parkersburg; and Daniel Scott Swisher of Washington, W.Va. R.J. Smith of Triadelphia filed on the Democratic side.
Mollohan has yet to file for re-election, but his spokesman, David Herring, said Friday that Mollohan will file before Jan. 30.
The primary election, which will decide the candidates to represent each party in the general election, is set for May 11. The general election is Nov. 2.