PARKERSBURG - A small crowd of voters heard from candidates running for the state legislature, county magistrate and county circuit clerk Thursday evening at a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters at the Parkersburg Municipal Building.
Candidates answered questions from the audience and spoke about mining, taxes, education, the economy and the quality of life in West Virginia.
Dave Nohe, Republican candidate for the state Senate 3rd District, talked about creating jobs to keep young people in West Virginia. His opponent, Democratic Tim Reed, did not attend.
Nohe, longtime mayor of Vienna, addressed the financial woes facing cities across the state, as well as the need for fewer regulations on businesses.
"I look at things a little differently because I am a mayor. I'm someone who applies the laws that the state legislature makes," he said. "A lot of cities are close to looking at bankruptcy. West Virginia is full of resources, and in my opinion, there's nothing we don't have. The key is keeping our kids here and attracting businesses by decreasing regulations."
For the House of Delegates 10th District, attending were incumbents Dan Poling, Democrat and John Ellem, Republican, and Republican Fred Gillespie.
Photo by Natalee Seely
David Nohe, left, running for state Senate 3rd District, left, spoke to voters along with 10th District House of Delegates incumbents John Ellem, center, and Dan Poling, right.
Incumbent Tom Azinger, Republican, didn't attend.
"We need to make the state amenable to new enterprise and encourage companies to come here and produce jobs," said Gillespie.
Poling and Ellem focused on the accomplishments of the Legislature.
Candidates for state legislature, county magistrate, and circuit clerk answered questions from voters Thursday night
About two dozen voters attended to the public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters.
Unopposed candidates Jamie Six for county clerk, Steve Gainer for county commission and E.W. "Bill" Anderson for House of Delegates 8th District also attended, but did not speak
Ellem, finishing his fifth term, said the last 10 years have been productive.
"I've long advocated for the reduction of personal property tax and the need to invest in education," he said. "We cannot have a sound economy without appropriate institutes of higher learning."
Businesses look at things other than just taxes, Poling said.
"They look for the quality of communities and the quality of infrastructure," he said.
Jim Marion, Democratic for House of Delegates 9th District, said he had plenty of time and energy to serve the state.
"This will be my only job, to dedicate myself to the people of my district," he said.
Marion, like the other candidates, said he favors reducing or eliminating property taxes for senior citizens.
Incumbent Delegate Larry Border, Marion's Republican opponent, didn't attend.
Mountaintop coal mining was a topic. Marion opposed mountaintop coal mining, but said underground mining was profitable as long as safeguards were in place.
Poling said that while he did not like mountaintop coal mining, his biggest concern was finding jobs for miners before proposing any restrictions.
"I don't like it, but it's more than just coal we're talking about, it's people," said Poling. "Let's find these people jobs before we step in there."
Nohe, Ellem and Gillespie said mountaintop coal mining was essential, but more focus should be put on safety and land reclamation.
For Wood County Circuit Clerk, Republican incumbent Carole Jones said she has strived to run the office in a professional and courteous manner in the years she has served. Her opponent, Democrat Margaret Burdette said she would like to bring the office into the 21st century.
"Experience doesn't always mean progress," Burdette said.
All three candidates for magistrate, Republican Robin Waters, Democrat Steve Gilbert and independent Debbie Hendershot, who spoke of the need to make the office more efficient.