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David Palmer Files For County Commissioner

Councilman Dave Palmer

WHEELING — Wheeling Councilman David Palmer enjoys serving the people of Elm Grove and the city, but he sees the opportunity to help even more at the county level.

Palmer on Tuesday filed to run as a Republican for Ohio County commission in 2022. The seat — which represents a full six-year term on the commission — is currently occupied by Commission President Randy Wharton. Wharton, a Democrat, filed for re-election on Monday.

“My entire career has been in public service. I enjoy helping people,” Palmer said. “I’ve always told people if you ask me a question, I’ll get you an answer. It may not be the answer you want, but I will get you an answer.

“While I love serving on city council and serving the residents of Ward 6, there’s always that bigger picture you want to look at. Everybody wants to strive for a higher goal. I would like to be able to serve not just those living in Ward 6, but all of Ohio County.”

Palmer said in 1981, the three county commissioners — Sam Anthony, Tom Tominack and David Disperio — took a chance on hiring him as a deputy when he was just 20 years old.

“That led me to a path of public service, and my entire adult career has been based on serving the public,” Palmer explained.

After being hired as a deputy sheriff, Palmer soon moved on to the Wheeling Police Department.

From there, he decided to follow in the footsteps of his father and brother and join the Wheeling Fire Department in 1986. His father, James Palmer Sr., had just retired from the department as chief fire investigator for the city.

When David Palmer retired in 2012, he also retired as chief fire investigator.

Along the way, he served as past president of Wheeling Firefighters Local 12, and as past secretary-treasurer of the West Virginia Professional Firefighters. In total, he spent over 20 years in lobbying efforts for firefighters and cities at the West Virginia Legislature.

“Knowing the ins and outs of the Legislature, and how to get things accomplished is something I think I can be very helpful with at the Ohio County level,” he said.

In retirement, Palmer is working as a bus driver for Ohio County Schools. He also is serving his second term on Wheeling City Council.

Palmer said he was reluctant to criticize the sitting commissioners, who he believes have done “some wonderful things.”

“My biggest thing is The Highlands is a spectacular project. It’s done wonderful things for Ohio County. I commend everybody involved in that,” he said.

“But I think we have to look more at Ohio County as a whole — and other assets we have that we are not utilizing.”

He noted among these assets is the Ohio County Airport, and he said county officials need to look at what can be done to enhance the facility.

“As you can tell from my time on city council, one of my biggest things is infrastructure, and trying to improve infrastructure within the city,” Palmer said. “I think we need to be better at infrastructure in the county.

“Quite frankly, we’re building $500,000 homes in the county that are using septic systems. We need to at least be able to provide the option of a sewer system. This is 2022. I don’t think we still need to be using septic systems anymore.”

The county also needs to focus on seeing that providers further expand broadband services in the county.

He said last year 11% of students in Ohio County Schools didn’t have access to the internet.

“I know this is a national thing, but how do we do better to make sure internet is available to residents throughout Ohio County? And how do we work to improve that?” Palmer asked.

“I would like to use my experience as a lobbyist at the Legislature to bring bigger and better things to Ohio County.”

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