Three local candidates are seeking to fill two open seats in the upcoming race for West Virginia House of Delegates for the 43rd District.
Elkins resident Denise L. Campbell has filed as a Democrat candidate for re-election, having served one prior term. She said she wants to be the voice for rural West Virginia.
"I want to make a difference for the citizens in Randolph and Pochontas counties and work hard to bring the issues of rural West Virginia to the forefront," Campbell said. "I want to continue to work hard to represent our needs in Charleston."
Campbell currently serves on the education committee, health and human resources committee and senior citizen issues committee. She was recently appointed as vice chairperson of the regional jail and correctional facility authority interim committee.
Campbell said she feels the biggest issues facing West Virginia are prescription drug abuse, economic development and correcting the high school drop out issues.
"The abuse of prescription drugs is affecting our communities in many ways," Campbell said. "The problem seems to be growing. We need attention to this issue to help our youth."
Campbell said she is working to grow a strong work force in our communities, and is looking to lower the state's high school drop-out rates.
With more than 20 years experience in health care, Campbell is working to improve access to health care to everyone, especially children and the elderly.
She worked to help pass the Autism Insurance Bill, the mine safety bill and the elimination of the food tax in West Virginia.
"I feel compassionate about working to make a positive difference in the community," Campbell said. "I want to address issues of the citizens and feel it's my job to be a voice of the people."
Incumbent Democrat William "Bill" G. Hartman is also an Elkins resident. He has served five terms and is seeking one of the two District 42 seats.
"Hopefully I can make a positive contribution to residents in West Virginia, especially those in Randolph and Pocahontas counties," Hartman said. "Everyone seems worried about special issues."
Hartman said the top three issues he feels facing West Virginians include achieving a balanced budget, raising funding for economic development and helping the rural areas of the state.
"To get our fiscal matters in order, we need to have a balanced budget," Hartman said. "We also need to get funding for a proposed 90-mile excursion train loop rail circuit."
The proposed loop would make use of existing track and would stretch from Pocahontas County through Webster County, and include Bemis, Elkins, Glady and Cass.
Hartman said he needs to help find funding for more projects to grow the economy in our area.
"You need to consider everything that comes up to vote," he said.
Hartman serves as vice chairman of the Forest Management Review Commission and is a member of the banking and insurance, governmental organization and political subdivision committees.
Republican candidate Donna Auvil, also of Elkins, is also vying for one of the two seats in the 43rd District. Auvil said she considers herself a simple person.
"I grew up a coal miner's daughter," Auvil said. "I am a simple person and no one owns me. I am not about me. I am retired and just want to help do something I feel strongly about."
Auvil said her main concerns include the war on drugs, education and the plight of military personnel.
"I am afraid for my grandchildren," Auvil said. "We need to involve children in a realistic look of what happens to those who use drugs, and let them know using drugs is not acceptable."
Auvil said she feels Randolph and Pocahontas counties have wonderful educators and service personnel, but she wants to help raise pay scales in West Virginia from fourth from the last across the nation to closer to the top.
"Besides better pay for teachers, we need to pay our service personnel more equitably," Auvil said. "Cooks are the lowest paid in school systems and they, like school bus drivers, work hard and have a tremendous amount of pressure and responsibility. I would like to see their classification raised."
Auvil said she believes if citizens lived by the Constitution, everything would take care of itself.
"If I don't have the answers to questions, I will seek and find it," Auvil said. "I would welcome the opportunity to serve the people of Randolph and Pocahontas counties. I want people to know that I stand for helping others."