Candidates on the ballot in Fayette County made their way to the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce in Oak Hill this morning for a Meet and Greet ahead of the 2022 General Election which is one week from today.
House, Senate, and Congressional candidates were in attendance. The Meet and Greet took place from 9 AM-11 AM Tuesday and allowed voters to come in at any time between then to meet their 2022 candidates and ask them any questions they may have.
State Senate District 10 Republican & Democrat candidates were both in attendance. Republican Vince Deeds and Democrat incumbent Stephen Baldwin were both on hand to speak with voters and voice where they stand on the issues.
Senator Baldwin, a pastor in Greenbrier County, says that it was good to be in Fayette County this morning. He says that during his first term in the State Senate he has worked hard for the people of Fayette County.
He stressed, though, that there are still things that need to be done, “We’ve got a lot of work to do, on infrastructure for example; bridges, roads, broadband, our substance use recovery infrastructure.”
Speaking about the New River Gorge region, Senator Baldwin says that economic development is a focus of his as the designation of the New River Gorge National Park & Preserve is and has been attracting more people to the area than usual. “We’ve got to have economic development in place so that folks have a place to live and folks can afford the quality of life here,” Baldwin said.
Republican Vince Deeds, a former West Virginia State Trooper who is also vying for the District 10 Senate seat says that he has a unique perspective on the issues facing the area.
Deeds says that his work as a West Virginia State Trooper for 25-years has allowed him to travel throughout the southeastern part of the state and see firsthand the issues facing the 10th District.
Deeds stated that he has been endorsed by Governor Jim Justice & Senate leadership. Deeds believes that by working with Governor Justice and the Senate, he will be able to give the people of the 10th District a voice.
Deeds says that West Virginia is in a unique situation with its economy because of the Conservative leadership in Charleston.
“We have a record-setting surplus budget, and that helps us provide more services and more resources, but then it also allows us the opportunity to cut taxes, put money back into people’s pockets so that we can fight inflation and high gas prices,” Deeds said.
The 10th Senatorial District is comprised of Greenbrier, Monroe, Nicholas, Summers, and most of Fayette County.
In the race for House of Delegates, both candidates from the 45th Delegate District were present. Democrat Christian Martine and Republican Eric Brooks are both political newcomers as neither has held political office before.
Democrat Christian Martine, who works for Glassdoor, a job recruitment service, says that he wants to keep people in West Virginia.
Martine said, “We have to invest in our schools and our educators, we have to make sure that the workforce that in some cases has fallen to opioids has the resources to get back on their feet.”
Martine also wants to see investment in infrastructure. “A third of our communities do not even have high-speed internet and that hurts our students, that hurts our workers, that hurts our small businesses,” Martine said. “In some of the areas that we’re very close to, it’s hard to even get around, there’s potholes everywhere and unpaved roads that make it difficult to get home.”
Republican Eric Brooks, who recently retired from the federal prison system, says he is focused and education and tax reform.
Brooks says, “My mom taught in the school system, she’s retired from the board of education; I come from a family of educators so it’s very important to me.”
“You can ask the economic development office and they’ll tell you the reason businesses don’t come here is because of taxes and because of our education system,” Brooks said. Brooks says he supports pay raises for teachers and is for reforming the state’s education and tax system.
The 45th Delegate District comprises part of Fayette & Raleigh County.
Democrat Gabe Peña is running against Republican incumbent Tom Fast in the 51st Delegate District.
Peña, a Fayetteville town councilman, says that his work in local and county government makes him prepared for the job of Delegate.
“I’m on the town council in Fayetteville, I worked for the [Fayette] County Commission for seven years as a grant writer and project manager,” Peña said. “I have a very good sense of how municipal, county, state, and federal funding work; I wanna take my experience to Charleston to advocate for the citizens of the 51st District and all rural communities in West Virginia.”
Peña also wants to take advantage of the historic levels of federal funding to improve broadband, roads, sewer, and water systems.
Republican incumbent Tom Fast was not present during candidate introductions.
The 51st Delegate District is compromised of Fayetteville and the northern half of Fayette County.
In the 1st U.S. Congressional District, Democrat Lacy Watson is challenging Republican incumbent Carol Miller.
Watson encourages voters to be civically engaged and to get out and vote on November 8th.
“I know that this is an election that we have a lot on the table and at stake and I would just encourage everyone to look at the issues and do your research into the candidates and vote according to your best interests,” Watson said.
Watson says his message is non-partisan, that he wants all West Virginians to get out and vote regardless of party.
Republican incumbent Carol Miller was not present at the event.
In the House of Delegates District 50 race, Republican incumbent Austin Haynes and Democrat challenger Elliot Pritt were both absent. Pritt stated ahead of the event that due to work obligations he would not be able to attend.
The 50th Delegate District is compromised of part of central and western Fayette County.
*Some candidates could not attend due to prior obligations*
Early voting is currently underway and will continue until Saturday, November 5th. Election Day is next Tuesday, November 8th.
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