OHIO COUNTY - Democrat Shawn Fluharty is again seeking nomination to the 3rd District House of Delegates seat representing Ohio County, and he said his reasons now are the same as they were during his first run in 2010.
"It takes somebody like me to shake things up in Charleston," he said. "Each year in the Legislature, they introduce over 1,800 bills and 200 of them pass. There is constant monotony in Charleston. They need somebody to shake things up, and I'm that kind of person."
Fluharty, 28, is a Wheeling attorney who received his law degree from West Virginia University, and he holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from WVU. He presently serves as a member of the Ohio County Human Rights Commission.
"Our state has an issue with always going down the same path as before," Fluharty said. "In reality, that's not very good."
He is critical of the state's education system.
"In Ohio County there are great schools, but elsewhere in state they are not as strong," Fluharty commented.
He also thinks more needs to be done to ensure more residents share in the potential wealth expected from the state's natural gas reserves. Fluharty proposes the revenue resulting from Marcellus Shale drilling go toward phasing out West Virginia's property tax on cars.
"Not everybody is a land owner," he noted. "Not everybody is affected by the natural gas drilling. Not everybody has a lease with Chesapeake (Energy) and is set to gain from it.
"We have new revenue coming in, and how are we best going to use it to affect everyone? Eliminating the property tax on cars is a way to do that."
Fluharty also is concerned West Virginia isn't generating enough revenue from those working in the natural gas industry.
"We have too many out-of-state workers, and we are losing out on millions in employment tax," he said. "We need to make sure West Virginia is generating the revenue it should from the natural gas boom."
Fluharty added that since the last election, he has learned to be a great listener and is open to constituent concerns.
"You need to give everybody a chance to be heard and take their sentiments to heart," he said. "Everybody has a purpose behind what they think. To evolve as a person, over time you have to offer an ear - even when their opinions differ from yours."
Fluharty noted he went into the legal profession to be the "voice for the voiceless."
"You represent someone without the necessary background to defend themselves," he said. "A similar trait is needed in Charleston - not everyone can be there."