WEIRTON - The open Hancock County Commission seat will be decided during the primary, barring a successful write-in challenge.
Two Democrats, incumbent Dan Greathouse and challenger Joe Barnabei, have filed in the race.
Barnabei is a graduate of Weirton Madonna High School and has worked at Arcelor Mittal/Weirton Steel for nearly 40 years. He is not a newcomer to elected office, serving three terms on the Hancock County Board of Education, serving as president for one term.
While serving on the board of education, Barnabei said he helped with funding the construction of the new Oak Glen Middle School at no cost to taxpayers.
Additionally, he said he helped save taxpayers money by working with school principles and department heads to trim their school's operating budget without reducing employee salaries. That lead to a reduction in the excess levy by 10 percent.
Additionally, Barnabei served one term as the Hancock County RESA representative. He also served two years on the Weirton Zoning Board. He said he wants to represent the people of Hancock County by representing them on the commission.
Barnabei is married to Patti Barnabei, and have three children: Andre (Jessica) Barnabei; Bianca (David) Goodwin and Liana Barnabei.
Greathouse believes his experience sets him apart in the race for Hancock County Commission.
Having served 17 years as commissioner, Greathouse referenced saving $13 million for the future and creating a $7 million capital outlay for a new 911/Emergency Service Building, new Magistrate Building, new Health Department and new Security entrance from grants and money saved.
Beyond his role as commissioner, Greathouse said his skills in education management from Weirton Steel union at Weirton Steel, as well as those from being a business owner, make him well-grounded in life.
In terms of government transparency, he said open meetings are always held and records are available for scrutiny. The issue that Greathouse finds most challenging to Hancock County is the drug epidemic.
"We have got to find a way to rid ourselves and our future of this problem," Greathouse said. "Whatever we are doing, it's not enough. I search for answers, but we need a unified effort. This affects us all."
Looking to the county's future, Greathouse cited the economy and infrastructure as key areas of focus.