Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


October 18, 2012

Endorsement: House District 27 Flanigan, Gearheart, Shott

In the newly drawn House of Delegates District 27, voters in Mercer County will decide Nov. 6 between six candidates vying for three seats.

The candidates include Democrats Ryan Flanigan, Greg Ball and Billy Morefield, and Republicans John H. Shott, Delegate Marty Gearheart, R-Mercer, and  Delegate Joe Ellington, R-Mercer. Five of the six candidates were recently interviewed by the Daily Telegraph’s editorial board. Morefield didn’t attend the editorial board session, and has not provided the newspaper with information concerning his candidacy. After careful deliberation and debate, we endorse Flanigan, Gearheart and Shott for the three House of Delegates seats.

Gearheart, an incumbent delegate originally elected to the old House District 24, is seeking election to the new Delegate District 27, which includes both Bluefield and Princeton. Whether it is fighting to eliminate turnpike tolls or challenging the redistricting process that created the new delegate district, Gearheart has proven himself to be a strong voice and proven advocate for Mercer County. He is worthy of another term in the House of Delegates.

Shott, a Bluefield attorney and former member of both the House of Delegates and the state Senate, is hoping to bring necessary — and common sense — changes to Charleston in order to create a more pro-business climate for the Mountain State. He supports limited but effective government, less burdensome taxes that serve as a deterrent to economic development, and protecting the state’s coal and natural gas industry from new and crippling federal regulations. These are all logical measures needed to help protect and advance our state.

Flanigan, a Princeton attorney and the current chairman of the Mercer County Democratic Party, brings a new and youthful perspective to state government. He realizes the importance of bringing Mercer County — Bluefield and Princeton — together for the betterment of all. And he appears eager to work with both Democrats and Republicans alike to help the region in terms of job creation, infrastructure growth and improving the state’s business climate.

We believe Gearheart, Shott and Flanigan will make a good trio of lawmakers for Mercer County. Their jobs won’t be easy. Although elected to make state laws, they will also have to play a critical role in helping to attract and retain new jobs for Mercer County. The past two years have clearly been difficult for the area. The number of jobs lost — or soon to be lost as in the case of Bluefield’s Mail Processing and Distribution Center — have not kept pace with the number of new jobs created.

And high-paying jobs, including urgently need manufacturing and high-tech positions, continue to elude our region. It will take aggressive leadership on both the local, state and federal levels to turn things around.

We believe Gearheart, Shott and Flanigan can help. When voters head to the polls on Nov. 6, we encourage Democrats and Republicans alike to vote for Flanigan, Shott and Gearheart.


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