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Gruzinskas Takes Marshall County Commission Seat

A former sheriff will soon take on a new role to serve the Marshall County community.

John “Big John” Gruzinskas, a Democrat, ousted Marshall County Commission President Stanley Stewart for his commission seat Tuesday by more than 3,000 votes.

Gruzinskas received 8,150 votes, while Stewart received 4,798.

Gruzinskas retired from the West Virginia State Police with 25 years of service before being elected sheriff twice, in 2004 and 2008. As sheriff, Gruzinskas was appointed twice as one of five of West Virginia’s 55 county sheriffs to serve on the Governor’s Sheriff’s Bureau.

As sheriff, Gruzinskas was crucial in coordinating federal assistance to combat the county’s drug epidemic, initiating the movement to have the county, along with much of the upper Ohio Valley, designated as a High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area by the federal government. He also  launched the Marshall County Drug Task Force before leaving office in 2012.

Gruzinskas said he continue to be available to the public, as he was during his lengthy law enforcement career.

“It’s a humbling experience and I’m very grateful to the voters of this county that they trusted me with their vote and I’m not going to betray that trust. Come January, we’ll hit the ground running,” Gruzinskas said. “When I was sheriff people always liked the fact that I was available to anybody. If they called on the phone they didn’t get the secretary they got me. If they came in the courthouse my door was never shut and I want to continue to do that as a commissioner. When they call they can talk to me.”

Tuesday was also the first election for Stewart, who was appointed to his commission seat in 2014 to fill a vacancy left by Brian Schambach. Stewart has served as commission president since January.

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