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McGraw Sees Challenge from Morrisey

October 21, 2012
By JOSELYN KING - Political Writer , The Intelligencer / Wheeling News-Register

Republican Patrick Morrisey is mounting a strong charge for the West Virginia Attorney General's post against longtime incumbent Attorney General Darrell McGraw, a Democrat.

- Morrisey, 44, of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., is originally from New Jersey. He is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.

Between 1999 and 2004, Morrisey served as the deputy staff director and chief health care counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee. He is married and has a 14-year-old step-daughter.

"I'm running for attorney general to ensure that West Virginia finally has a leader who will stand up to regulatory excess in the Obama administration," Morrisey said. "My opponent and I differ on three critical issues facing West Virginia - challenging the EPA, health care and ethics. I will vigorously push back against the EPA whenever the agency oversteps its bounds and threatens our way of life.

"Since Darrell McGraw has endorsed President Obama, he has not been a leader on energy-related issues and won't fight for energy jobs. On health care, I will bring my background ... to ensure that the Medicaid program is protected for the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, Darrell McGraw has made legal errors that will cost the state millions of dollars and place health care for seniors and vulnerable populations at risk.

"Finally, I will advance a series of proposals to restore integrity to the Office of Attorney General; settlement money should be returned to the Legislature and the taxpayers and must not be used as a personal piggy bank for self-promotion or to dole out as the incumbent sees fit."

As a regulatory attorney, Morrisey noted, he has experience taking on big government regulations and pushing back against federal agencies that overstep their legal authority.

"Throughout my career, I have handled health care, administrative law, election law, regulatory, public policy and consumer protection matters," he said. "I have the experience, judgment and temperament for this position, as demonstrated by my lengthy career of working effectively for clients, the government and people."

After taking office, Morrisey said he would conduct an audit to determine how to ensure that taxpayer funds are spent wisely.

"There has not been a close review of the office's technological capabilities since the incumbent took office 20 years ago," he said. "Instead of spending the taxpayers' money on self-promoting projects, we will evaluate how to modernize the office's computer systems and educate consumers through new social media techniques. This will result in spending that is far more cost-effective than the incumbent's, who simply blankets the airwaves with his name to garner name recognition."

- McGraw, 75, of Charleston was born in McGraws-Tipple, W.Va. He has served as West Virginia's attorney general since 1993.

Prior to that, he was a justice on the state Supreme Court of Appeals from 1976-88, and was chief justice from 1984-88.

He attended John McGraw School, Pineville High School and Berea Academy before going on to serve in the U.S. Army, complete Army Leadership School, and attend West Virginia University. He earned his law degree at WVU.

McGraw is married to Jorea Marple, state superintendent of schools in West Virginia. They have four children and one grandson.

"I have dedicated my life to public service and to protecting consumers," McGraw said. "My Consumer Protection Division is nationally acclaimed as one of the best protectors of consumers in the nation. The opposition has spent a lifetime lobbying against consumer protection measures, and representing drug companies."

He added he is a native West Virginian, as well as a Golden Horseshoe recipient.

"I have practiced law in West Virginia for most of my legal career, serving as justice and chief justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court and now as attorney general," McGraw noted. "Under my leadership, we have returned to the state of West Virginia and consumers billions in new money from out-of-state wrongdoers who violated our laws. Our staff consists of dedicated, enthusiastic lawyers and personnel who like their work as they serve our people."

McGraw also is looking to update technology in his office.

"We have requested additional funding for hardware and software for IT input, processing, output and security, all of which is very expensive," he said. "The office has earned the money ($196 million for national leadership), but the Legislature must appropriate.

"We also use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with consumers to make them aware of consumer fraud and scams as soon as we learn of them."

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