Second District Delegate Phillip Diserio, D-Brooke, faces Republican Lynn Davis for the seat.
- Davis, of Wellsburg, was born in Pittsburgh but she and her husband, John, have lived in Brooke County for more than 15 years.
She is a lawyer who practiced for several years in St. Louis and later in Pittsburgh before moving to the Wheeling area upon her marriage. An award-winning journalist, she currently is self-employed as a writer.
"The state is not as prepared for the future, financially, as it should be," Davis said. "High unemployment, unfunded liabilities and the looming burden of the ill-conceived federal health care law may prove disastrous for our state, regardless of whether the budget is balanced.
"Our state's future depends on reducing the size of our bloated bureaucracy and reforming tax laws to encourage job creation by the private sector, from small businesses to heavy industry. The Legislature has failed to deal with the ever-growing expense of Medicaid and must do so immediately."
She noted the Marcellus Shale bill passed last year "was a good first effort to strike a reasonable balance between the interests of surface owners, drillers and the preservation of West Virginia's beautiful natural environment."
- Diserio, 52, of Follansbee was appointed to a 2nd District seat in January to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of former Delegate Tim Ennis, now a Brooke County commissioner.
He is president of the Brooke-Hancock Central Labor Council, and a graduate of Brooke High School and the Steubenville Electrical Joint Apprenticeship.
He and wife, Sandra, have three children and two grandchildren.
"I believe that West Virginia is one of five states that have a surplus at the end of fiscal year 2011, with $800 million in the rainy day fund," Diserio said. "We have not had to lay off any state employees and were able to pay state unemployment without any help from the federal government.
"I believe that we are experiencing economic growth every day with all of the activity in the Marcellus Shale industry, and hopefully these jobs will go to West Virginia residents first."
He indicated additional legislation regarding the Marcellus Shale extraction industry likely will result as the industry grows in the state.
"The natural gas boom has come at us fast and furious, and I don't know that anyone was prepared for what has or is about to happen," Diserio said. "The governor and Legislature responded with the Marcellus regulatory bill.
"I feel sure that as more situations arise the Legislature will act in the same responsible manner."
He also believes the state is poised for future economic development.
"I think we have already started by reducing business franchise tax, corporate net tax, and have lowered the food tax to 1 percent - that will eventually go away," Diserio commented. "Our state is somewhat marketing itself with natural gas. We need to market the work force of West Virginia citizens that are proud, responsible, hard working - and deserving of the jobs that will be coming."