For the first time in more than a decade, there's an open seat on the Ohio County Commission.
Democrat Orphy Klempa, a current state senator representing Ohio County, faces Republican Patricia Levenson in the Nov. 6 general election. The winner will take the seat previously occupied by longtime commissioner David Sims who resigned this summer to take an appointment as a county circuit judge.
The winner will join commissioners Randy Wharton and Tim McCormick in running the county's operation.
- Levenson believes Ohio County is headed in the wrong direction.
"Our county has the raw materials and the intellectual capacity to be the propellant that drives the nation's economy upward," Levenson said. "We should be the most desirable location for energy, chemical and ancillary industries as well as a transportation hub for the Eastern states."
Levenson brings a strong business background to the table, as she worked at Reichart Furniture Co. for 17 years where she served as a fashion coordinator, buyer, and retired from the company as a department manager of commercial and residential design. She and her husband, Robert, also owned, operated and financed furniture stores.
"I have been an employee in many capacities, as well as a business owner and developer and fully appreciate the needs of the working family. I attained success by listening to clients, presenting solutions within their budget and delivering what I promised," she said. "Only in America can you be rewarded with professional success with a lot of hard work and a clear understanding of goal and purpose."
- Klempa said his public service experience - he's been involved with business, labor, economic development, health care systems, tourism, education and numerous charities plus six years as a state legislator representing Ohio County - gives him the edge in the commissioner race.
"These life lessons, along with my vision to see Ohio County seize the opportunity of the game changer we call Marcellus Shale, not only for the temporary employment through its development but the permanent jobs that we must demand be created here by the manufacturing of the by-products created," are reasons why residents should support him, he said.
Along with serving in the state Senate and two terms in the House of Representatives, Klempa is a service representative of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters, West Virginia District, and co-chairman of Project BEST. He is a member of the board of Trustees at Ohio Valley Medical Center and a director of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce and the Wheeling Convention and Visitors Bureau. He also serves as a board member of the Ohio County Development Authority and the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley.
He believes the skills he's attained over the years make him the right choice.
"My leadership skills and ability to bring people together for the common good of all is the attribute of which I am most proud," he said. "My goal is to take this ability along with my work ethic, spirit of cooperation and knowing how to be fiscally responsible and stay within a budget to the commission. In addition, along with the help of the current commissioners, my goal is to keep Ohio County fiscally sound and moving forward in economic development at not only The Highlands but working to secure Ohio County's place in history by the development of permanent jobs created by the Marcellus Shale, and not just settle for the current gold rush."