WHEELING - Ohio County resident Ron Musser, a newcomer to the political arena, is seeking a ballot spot for the Democrat seat for Ohio County Commissioner left vacant when David Sims withdrew from the race to assume the job of Ohio County circuit court judge.
Musser, a former Wheeling city solicitor and current partner in the Corporate Department and Commercial Finance/Real Estate Practice Group in Wheeling, said he believes his prior experience and qualifications would enable him to be an effective public official as a county commissioner.
On Friday, State Sen. Orphy Klempa announced that he also has submitted a letter to the Ohio County Democratic Party seeking a spot on the ballot for the November election. Klempa was elected to the Senate in 2010, and had previously represented District 3 in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 2006-2010.
The Ohio County Democratic Executive Committee will meet to consider the applicants and choose their candidate for commissioner at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Ohio County Democratic Party campaign headquarters, located at the Board of Trade Building at 12th and Chapline streets in Wheeling.
While there are reportedly several other local residents seeking the ballot post, their names were not made available to the Sunday News-Register. Ohio County Democrat Executive Committee Co-Chairs Robert J. "Rocky" Fitzsimmons and John Saunders were unavailable for comment Saturday.
Musser is a graduate of Weir High School and the U.S. Military Academy. Following several years of active duty in the Army, he obtained his law degree at the West Virginia College of Law before settling in Ohio County in 1981. He is married to Netch Musser, a teacher at Wheeling Country Day School, and they are the parents of three adult children, Chad, Eli and Nathan.
In his letter to the Ohio County Democratic Party, Musser noted that "as a former city solicitor and long-standing resident of Ohio County and practicing attorney since 1981, I have developed working relationships with city, county and state agencies and officials as well as local entities such as RED, Department of Highways, Ohio County Board of Education, Ohio County Public Service District, and their representatives."
Musser pointed out that he has worked with the Ohio County Assessor Kathie Hoffman and county Solicitor Don Tennant regarding tax appeal cases.
As a county commissioner, Musser said he would like to be part of the push for better water and sewer services for county residents as well as improved roads. He said he favors providing county residents with more opportunities for recycling programs and would like to see increased marketing for the Wheeling-Ohio County Airport.
Musser also would encourage more participation among local voters by providing additional informational programs to educate voters on the election process.
Eligible candidates had to be Democrats living in Ohio County's 2nd Magisterial District. A commissioner's term in office is six years, and the job pays $36,960 annually. The Democratic candidate selected to fill the commission spot will face Republican Patty Levenson on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.