Candidates for Ohio County Commission and Ohio County sheriff will debate today during a public event at West Liberty University.
The Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce will host the debates at WLU's College Hall. The first debate begins at 7 p.m. and showcases commission candidates Patty Levenson, a Republican, and Orphy Klempa, a Democrat.
Following that debate, at 8 p.m., Ohio County Sheriff Patrick Butler, a Republican, will face off with former county Sheriff Thomas Burgoyne, a Democrat. Each debate is scheduled to last 50 minutes.
Questions to the candidates will be posed by a three-man panel including Chamber President Terry Sterling; John McCabe, managing editor of The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register; and local radio personality Howard Monroe.
In the past, the chamber has hosted political events with candidates for the West Virginia Legislature, but this year the organization decided a different focus was needed, according to Sterling.
Former Speaker of the House "Tip O'Neill once said, 'All elections are local' - and that's very true," Sterling said. "We have some very important local races that will have a significant impact on our community for many years. That's why we want to get involved and provide information."
He added the chamber's goal is to help voters make an informed decision in the election, "and over the years we've become good at conducting these debates and forums."
"We encourage everybody to attend," Sterling added. "We have two extremely important local races, and we want everybody to make an informed decision on Election Day."
The event will be aired live on West Liberty Television, WLTV, which can be found on Comcast channel 14 in the Wheeling market.