Three Seek GOP Nomination For Ohio County Commission

WHEELING — A three-way Republican primary for a seat on the Ohio County commission is on the delayed June 9 West Virginia primary election ballot.

There are three contestants in the race: Zach Abraham, Jim Kleeh and Cecilea Moore.

Abraham, 47, served as president of the Ohio County Board of Education until resigning the position on May 4. He was notified by the West Virginia Ethics Commission there was an issue with a non-partisan BOE member simultaneously running for a partisan office.

He was nearing the end of his first four-year term on the board of education, which would have expired June 30.

Abraham, is a graduate of West Virginia University and Wheeling Park High School.

He is among the partners in AlignHR, a human resource company providing services to small- and medium-sized businesses. He previously was employed with McKinley Carter Wealth Services.

“I can bring a vision to the county commission. That is where I am strong,” Abraham said. “I don’t think there is a lot of planning in what we are going to look like in the next 10 to 15 years from now…. I can bring a new perspective to the county commission, and I want to help.”

He said he is running because he wants to help the local communities where he lives.

“I also think we can enhance our technology capabilities and our collaborative efforts between other governmental bodies and other organizations, villages and townships around the county and get them involved in what the county is doing,” Abraham said.

Kleeh, 69, has business experience in wholesale distribution and retail. In 1980, Kleeh opened Top Hat Stoves & Pools, a retail business in Centre Market, followed by the opening of J&M Distributing Inc., a wholesale fireplace company in Warwood.

He now is retired after 30 plus years of owning and managing wholesale businesses.

Kleeh resides in Warwood and is a member of Corpus Christi Church. His resume includes previous parish finance council member and building committee member, Wheeling Central School Board member and president, and coach for youth basketball, baseball and flag football.

“I’ve got business experience,” he said. “I have run five different businesses. And every week in a business you run into a fire that you have to put out. You learn how make crucial decisions

I think I have common sense. I will be working for the people of Ohio County because I’ve lived in Ohio County all my life.”

Because he is retired, Kleeh said he would have the time to be a full-time commissioner.

He also believes commissioners are putting too much of the county’s money into development at The Highlands while ignoring other communities. He suggests some money generated by The Highlands be designated to these communities, while some also be returned to the public in the form of a tax refund.

Moore, 28, is entering politics for first-time. She is a mother of four, and has been a volunteer firefighter in Triadelphia for nearly a decade. Moore also is a member of the Ohio County Virtual Lions, and is an employee at the Kroger pharmacy in Warwood.

She has called for development of the former county farm property, and for repairs to infrastructure in the county. County water lines are aging, she said, and it isn’t unusual for them to break and cause interruption in service.

“I think it is important to me that the focus gets back into the rest of Ohio County,” Moore said. “Being as I am a volunteer in the county, that gives me a little different perspective than my opponents. I would very much just like to make the county thrive.

“What makes me different from the other candidates is that I am very active in the community. I don’t mind getting my hands dirty. I don’t sit behind a desk. I am not a business person. I would see both the good and bad firsthand, as opposed to having someone report back to me.”

Incumbent Ohio County Commission President Tim McCormick is running unopposed for the Democrat nomination.


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