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Republican Executive Committee Holds Annual Lincoln Dinner

By Staff | Apr 25, 2018

Republican Dinner Cutline: Back Row (left to right): Roger Romine, Mike Smith, Rod Fitzwater, Eric Vincent, Casey Hamilton, Ralph Thomas, Larry Thomas and Charles Clements. Middle Row (left to right): Jeff Nichols, Dave Roberts, David Kelly, Mike Galluzzo, Alex King, and Steve Thomas. Front Row (left to right): Janet Hadley, Norma Davis, Luke Furbee, Tarina Morris, Becky Wells, and Kayla Kessinger.

The Tyler County Republican Executive Committee recently held its Lincoln Day Dinner at the Baptist Church in Sistersville.

Janet Hadley, incoming Chair of the Executive Committee for Tyler County, announced that outgoing Committee Chair Becky Wells, has served Tyler County for 19 years.

Wells is not leaving the committee altogether, but she is stepping down from Chairman to Vice-Chairman of the Republican Executive Committee.

Wells spoke to the audience, ” I can’t imagine my life without having all of you in it.” Wells thanked everyone for the support they have given here over her 19 years as chairman.

Several of the Board of Education candidates were present including: Dave Roberts, Larry Thomas, Ralph Thomas, and Tarina Morris.

House of Delegates candidates Alex King and David Kelly were also in attendance for the dinner, as well as former House of Delegate Roger Romine.

Senator Charles Clements was in attendance and started off by giving praise to fellow Senator Mike Maroney for the work and sacrifices he makes for the state.

Clements went on to discuss that “Members of the West Virginia Senate, through due diligence, took the information available and processed it, and we gave the largest pay raise to public employees in the history of the state without raising taxes.”

Clements also spoke about Senate Bill 360 which reversed the allowance of gas companies to take post-production expenses on old flat-rate wells and requires that walking payments and severance tax be computed on the first sale of the property, which could increase the state severance tax as much as $15 million a year.

Clements also spoke about reorganizing the jails and prison systems by putting them all under one administration. The state has also frozen the jail fee for the next three years at $48.20 a day. Also, beginning in July 1, 2019, the county will only be responsible for jail fees beginning on the day of conviction. Right now the county pays since the beginning of the sentencing, so this bill will save the counties a great deal of money.

Lastly, Clements discussed meeting with DNR representatives and other members of Congress to develop a plan for fixing the Jug in Middlebourne. Clements stated the DNR has committed $3 million to fixing the Jug and plans are set to begin as soon as possible.

County Commission candidate Rod Fitzwater mentioned he looks forward to working with Commissioner Vincent and Commissioner Stender and will have an open line of communication to all the residents of Tyler County. “All of us together can improve conditions in the county in several areas.” Fitzwater added, “I think that every candidate running has something to offer the county and I wish everyone of you luck in this race.”

County Commission candidate Mike Galluzzo stated he has been a resident of Tyler County for 38 years and has made several acquaintances over the years. Galluzzo stated, I have plans for the commission… I would like to do fiscally responsible budgets.” He continued, “I would like to see increased budgeting for law enforcement agencies to help combat the drug problem created in the area… I want to make sure that it is well-known what the money that we are acquiring is used for.” Galluzzo said he is willing to work with any group who would like to bring concerns to the commission. He continued, “I will have office hours dedicated to this job, because I consider this my main job and anyone that wants to can talk to me at any time.”

Commission candidate Mike Smith took a few minutes to first give thanks to the Lord for being able to speak with everyone and to his family who supports him. Smith also added he was born and raised in Tyler County and is a 30-year employee of Monongahela Power. Smith stated one of his focal points for the commission race is economic development. “One of my main concerns is the safety and well being of the citizens of Tyler County, starting with our first responders – our law enforcement, our EMS and our fire departments.” Smith would like to see Tyler County take a step into the 21st Century by upgrading the technological services available to the county.

Commission candidate Steve Thomas informed guests that, “I appreciate the care of the current commission. I appreciate the purchase of the new Sheriff’s Office and the care that they have put into restoring the county courthouse.” Thomas addressed some of the water issues in the county by adding, “There are people in this county who are hauling water and it is a priority of mine, that as we have the building of the Route 18 Water Project, that these projects continue.” Thomas also spoke of communications throughout the county. Thomas would like to see the internet service improve county wide and he feels improved internet would also help with emergency responders, as well as those being medically monitored. Thomas noted, “Education, tourism, economic development, infrastructure, and beautification are areas we need to improve.”

Alex King, candidate for House of Delegates District Six, addressed the audience to let them know that community development is an important issue to him. King’s vision for economic development began about four years ago when several citizens were concerned about the shape of Sistersville. King stated previous elected officials had commented that the park and ferry “always lose money,” and King decided then to do more for the city. “When you see a need or a problem, if you start working on it today, you can offer so much more tomorrow.” Now there is a Ferryboat Festival, and The Park and Pool has been so successful it is drawing a large number of people from outside the city. King also feels there is a communication breakdown between the state level, to the county level, to the city level. King explained he is in favor of a Public Service Commission for the county. He feels it would be a negotiating tool to bring more businesses in the area. King would also like to see laws in place allowing transferable tax credits to help businesses get on their feet in the first few years of being established. Lastly, King would like to see better infrastructure when it comes to developing county roads. “If we have to spend a little bit more today to save money in the future, it would be very worthwhile,” stated King

David Kelly, candidate for House of Delegates District Six, informed guests his recent experience as county commissioner has opened his eyes to the needs of the community and has allowed him to work with some of the wonderful elected officials of Tyler County. Under his term of service, Kelly mentioned that he has seen a broadband initiative grant come to fruition, which is the first step in developing broadband for rural areas. Kelly said the decision to run for House of Delegates was not an easy decision but his desire to make a difference compelled him to run. “From day one, I will go to Charleston to be your delegate from district six.” Kelly continued, “I’m excited about this district and the future of Tyler County and I’m asking you for your support.”

Kayla Kessinger, member of the House of Delegates, spoke with guests briefly about the impact that Senators Maroney and Clements have been doing for our district.

She also spoke about how West Virginia state tax dollars were being used to pay for abortions and last year West Virginia paid for over 1,000 abortions which Kessinger feels is a violation of rights.

Roger Romine with the House of Delegates spoke about his experience of being on the House of Delegates for so many years. He spoke of so many people who have supported him throughout the years and said he would have never been able to do his job without that support.