Editor's note: Candidates for local 2012 races are welcome to email their candidate announcements to firstname.lastname@example.org.
James C. "Jim" Cole has announced his candidacy for re-election to the Grant County Commission.
Cole is a lifelong Republican and has a track record of proven leadership, balancing budgets, and keeping taxes low.
He has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration/economics from West Virginia Wesleyan College and a master's degree from West Virginia University in educational administration. He also has an accounting degree from Akron University and has 47 years of experience in business, education and public service.
"I understand budgets and finances, which are critical in these tough economic times if we are to balance the budget and keep taxes low," he said.
Cole has been married to the former Phyllis Friddle for 47 years. They have two daughters, Holly and Jennifer, and four grandsons.
Cole is a member of the National Rifle Association, and he said he strongly believes in the right to bear arms. Also, he believes the country should the right to have prayer in schools and post the Ten Commandments.
"Since I was elected, the Grant County Commission is financially stronger as are various civic organizations, churches, businesses and the Grant County Board of Education in which I have had financial responsibility," he added.
He said he has been a full-time county commissioner. He goes the Courthouse every day unless he is am out of town.
He said he does not charge the county for any county-related travel expenses.
"As a member of the Grant County Hospital Board, I led the charge to move the hospital to critical access and directed the hospital to begin working to streamline admitting, billing and collection procedures which greatly improves their financial position," Cole said.
He also opened the side door at the courthouse by personally paying for a new door with a window, thus allowing citizens (especially seniors) easy access to the sheriff's office to pay their taxes and vote.
Cole said he also created jobs with Appalachian Rail Service.
Also, by privatizing quick-response emergency services for the entire county, it saved Grant Memorial Hospital more than $300,000 annually without increasing taxes.
Cole also supported and assisted the creation of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, which has increased tourism.
He negotiated with Eastern Community & Technical College to move its Technical Center into the Grant County Industrial Park (former sewing factory building), which now serves more than 50 students.
He helped combine the position of county administrator and IDA director, saving the county $50,000 per year.
Cole noted that plans are being made to break ground this spring for a new Senior Center for the Mt. Top.
Noting his experience and proven record, Cole asked for support from voters.
"This year's election is critical as to the direction we take locally and nationally in keeping spending and taxes under control," he said. "I thank you for your past support and would greatly appreciate your vote."