McMechen - As the November election draws near, the McMechen Women's Club and Marshall County Library teamed up to "Meet the Candidates" at the McMechen Community Association Firemen's Hall. A number of local and statewide candidates attended the event.
Democrat David Sidiropolis is seeking one of two seats to the state House of Delegates from the Fourth Delegate District. "We are looking forward to running a positive campaign," he said. "This is something I'm passionate about. It's in my blood. I want to make it my career."
Delegate Mike Ferro, D-Marshall, said, "My mission is to positively affect as many lives as possible."
Republican candidate David A. Evans said he is running for a few reasons. His first is coal.
"I see that there is a problem with the coal industry," Evans said. "I'd like to work to see that we keep coal, not only in this area but around the country."
Democrat Kevin Cecil is seeking the open Marshall County sheriff's post. He currently is chief deputy for Sheriff John Gruzinskas, who is term-limited and thus can't seek re-election, and said he knows what needs to be done.
"I can see what has and what has not worked, and I will build on what works," said Cecil. "I can see what problems a small town has."
Cecil listed four major issues that he plans to address as sheriff. First, he wants to take a stand against the drug problems in Marshall County.
Second, he has noticed a rise in sex crimes and wants to take a proactive, not reactive, stance against them. Third, he wants to take on traffic problems by getting deputies on the roads to crack down on dangerous drivers. Finally, Cecil said that he wants a well-established and close relationship with the community.
"You see things, hear things, watch things," said Cecil as he looked out at residents. "We need you to watch things, and tell us about them."
Cecil's opponent is no stranger to the position of chief deputy. Republican Patrick Mull also held the post and now wants to be sheriff.
"Integrity is the foundation of law enforcement officers," said Mull.
Mull went on to say that he would rather have more traffic patrol on the roads rather than work the same patrols longer, and expressed his disapproval of a constitutional amendment to repeal the two consecutive term limitation for sheriffs.
Jerry Andrews also is running as a write-in candidate for Marshall County sheriff.
Andrews said that he conducted an experiment while riding into town from his home near Grand Vue Park, and watched how many large trucks were driving left of center on Marshall County's roads. In 20 trips, he said, he saw 81 trucks left of center. And in all 20 trips, he only ever saw one deputy.
"This can't continue" said Andrews. "It's a constant battle with the trucks, and the cars aren't winning. It's going to keep happening until someone tell them they can not do that."
Andrews also said that something has to be done about the drug problem in Marshall County.
Also speaking were Marshall County Commissioner Jason "Jake" Padlow who noted the county's budget has nearly doubled over the past 12 years.
"I ask for your support to do three things," said Padlow. "I want to create jobs, lower taxes, and continue growth."
Democrat Dave McLaughlin is running for magistrate of Marshall County.
"I believe that any elected official should be active in the community," said McLaughlin.
Several state-level candidates also spoke, including, Republican Kent Leonhardt who is seeking to become the next commissioner of Agriculture.
"Agriculture has one of the biggest departments, and one of the largest budgets," said Leonhardt. "As such, you have to be able to trust the commissioner."
Leonhardt listed three reasons why he thinks residents should vote for him. First, he believes that he is qualified to deal with agriculture as he is a farmer himself.
He also is a retired Marine, having led 68 men during Operation Desert Storm. Last, he, too, is concerned about the coal industry and promised to fight to keep it alive in the state.
Republican Secretary of State candidate Brian C. Savilla said he sees himself "as a public servant," and expressed disapproval with the concept of voting based on political party. "It shouldn't be about what party you are, it only matters what you believe in."