The Times West Virginian

Local News

April 27, 2014

State Senate, House candidates set

Primary provides opportunity for voters to learn more

FAIRMONT — The candidates that will represent the Republicans and the Democrats in November’s general election for the District 13 state Senate and the District 50 House of Delegates races are already set for November: the number of candidates who filed to run for the state Senate and House of Delegates matches the number of vacancies on the ballot for each party.

This makes their place on the May 13 primary ballot seem almost a formality; however, the primary still provides an important opportunity for voters to learn more about the candidates who wish to represent them.

All of the Democrats are running for re-election, while the Republicans are first-time candidates.

State Senate: Bob Beach (D)

Beach, a lifetime resident of Monongalia County, served on the Monongalia County Planning Commission from 1999 to 2009, on the West Virginia Commission on Holocaust Education from 2011 to present, in the House of Delegates in 1998 and from 2000 to 2010, and has served in the State Senate since 2010.

“While demanding at times, I earnestly enjoy the role as an advocate for residents of the 13th District and would like to continue to work on issues that address pressing needs both from a state and, more importantly, a local perspective,” Beach said.

Beach said that should he be elected, he would like to build upon recent success with economic development in North Central West Virginia, develop a long-term funding model for transportation, and provide free tuition for residents seeking to attend a public in-state two-year community college.

State Senate: Kris Warner (R)

Republican candidate Kris Warner lives in Morgantown, where he has lived for his adult life, and owns property in both Monongalia and Marion County.

Warner is national committeeman for West Virginia for the Republican Party, and has also served as a county chairman and state chairman. He is also involved with the Leadership Monongalia and Leadership West Virginia programs.

“I hope to better our own situation and have a way for the state to get more revenue so that we can do things like repair our roads, and other basic services that West Virginians need,” Warner said.

Warner’s main goals if elected are to improve the quality of the roads and infrastructure. He would also like to work to further partnerships and relationships with oil and gas companies, and work to sell more liquified natural gas. He said he would like to help employees earn higher wages by also helping small businesses succeed.

House of Delegates: Linda Longstreth (D)

Longstreth is originally from Mannington and now lives in Fairmont.

She has served as a state delegate for five terms. She has also worked in social work, and worked to develop and administer programs that help train adults for the workplace.

“Serving the people of Marion County is not only second nature, but an honor and a privilege,” Longstreth said.

Longstreth’s goals if re-elected include continuing efforts to help with mental health issues faced by veterans and their families. She would also work toward improving early literacy rates, create legislation to help special-needs children and work to reinstate funds to children’s programs. She would aim to finding new funding sources for the roads.

House of Delegates: Tim Manchin (D)

Manchin was born in Farmington, raised in Bridgeport, and currently lives in Fairmont in Benton’s Ferry.

Manchin started in politics when he was appointed to his uncle A. James Manchin’s 2003 House seat. He then ran for election for that seat, and has now been serving as a delegate for over 10 years. He also serves on the Valley Mental Health Board and previously served on the City Bank Board. He belongs to the Lions Club and the Knights of Columbus, and is a past president of the West Virginia Association for Justice.

“I love West Virginia, and I love our people. I asked to serve the people so that I can make the state of West Virginia a better place to live for our children and our grandchildren,” Manchin said.

Manchin stated his goals if re-elected include improving the education system and improving the health of residents, especially children. He would also work to keep programs in place that allow seniors to remain in their homes longer, rather than having to move to nursing homes. He also aims to improve West Virginia’s image, to help attract more enterprise and more jobs in West Virginia.

House of Delegates: Mike Caputo (D)

Caputo is a lifelong resident of Rivesville.

From 1981 to 1983, he served on Rivesville Town Council. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 1996, where he has served from 1997 to present. He is a member of the Moose, the Knights of Columbus, the Elks and the Lions Club. He works for the United Mine Workers of America, and is District 31 International vice president.

“I’ve always just tried to do the best for the people that I represent. I just believe firmly in West Virginia and believe in Marion County, and I want to continue if the people will have me to serve another term,” Caputo said.

If re-elected, Caputo said he would work to ensure taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely, by continuing to provide necessary services while still acting in a financially responsible manner. He said he will continue to be accessible to his constituents and will work to help them in any way that they can.

House of Delegates: Barry Bledsoe (R)

Bledsoe was born in Virginia but moved to Marion County when he was 6, where he has lived ever since. He grew up in Rivesville and now lives in Fairmont.

He is a volunteer firefighter in two departments in Marion County. Bledsoe is also a member of the Marion County 911 Advisory Board, the Marion County Rescue Squad Board of Directors and the Marion County Republican Executive Committee. He is a coordinator for the Marion County Tea Party, and a trustee at the Faith Baptist Church. He also previously served on the Marion County Planning Commission.

“I have a long history of caring about my community, county and state, and trying to do things to be a productive member and part of the community,” Bledsoe said. “I decided this should be my next step because I believe there are some serious issues and problems in the state which can be dealt with with the right people in Charleston.”

If elected, Bledsoe said he would work to change West Virginia public policy to try to move West Virginia from where it is now, to where it “can and should be.” He said he would work to save West Virginia money, so that the saved money could either be put to better use, or taxes could be decreased. He would also work to create legislation to make the state more attractive to businesses inside and outside of the state.

House of Delegates: Phil Mallow (R)

Phil Mallow is originally from Maryland but has lived in Fairmont since 1987.

He retired in July 2012, but had a long career working for UPS, starting out part-time, and eventually moving to a management position. As part of that position, he worked with the United Way to organize golf tournaments. He is also a past member of the Lions Club and the Elks.

“I think the folks of West Virginia deserve better,” Mallow said. “If you’re happy with the way things are, raise your hand. If not, vote for me.”

Mallow said that, should he be elected, his biggest goal would be to get the people more involved in politics. He would also work to get information on government spending out to the public, to ensure residents have more say in how their tax dollars are spent. He would also work to improve the business atmosphere in West Virginia, and to keeping young people in the state.

House of Delegates: Bobbie D. Triplett II (R)

Triplett has lived in the Fairview area of Marion County for 53 years.

He belongs to the Mannington Lodge No, 31 and AF&AM Freemason, where he was a master in 1999, and has been serving as treasurer since 2007. He is also a Royal Arch Mason.

“I look around and see it isn’t getting any better in Marion County or in West Virginia. It seems like they’re doing the same thing in Charleston every year. We have no change. We have to think outside the box,” Triplett said.

Triplett said that if elected, he would work to look at other states as models, to see what can be done to attract businesses to West Virginia. He would focus on job creation, looking at tax structure and how to better use our natural resources. He said he would be available to constituents 24/7.

Voters voting in the May 13 primary will be given the ballot for the party they are registered under, Republican or Democrat. Independents and those who have no party affiliation can ask for the ballot of their choice at their polling place on election day.

Email Colleen S. Good at cgood@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @CSGoodTWV.

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