Patricia Levenson of Wheeling is the new chairwoman of the Ohio County Republican Party, and she sees the position as an opportunity to help mold the next generation of political leadership.
"I saw the caliber of those stepping forward for the open positions (on the board), and the motivation they had," she said. "I saw there was an opportunity to help move our party forward. We want to give our community real choices, become more visible and give the voting public more options. They should have freedom of choice, rather than a single direction.
"I became excited about the youthful faces in front of me and thought I had the experience to develop leadership for the future," she added. "My mission is to develop leadership in the coming years that can step in and carry on."
Levenson succeeds Elgine McArdle, who stepped down as chairwoman of the county GOP in January. Levenson was named chairwoman last week by the Ohio County GOP's Executive Committee after five new members of the committee were selected to fill open positions.
Chosen to serve on the executive committee were Susan Oglinsky Cookman, Desiree Lyonette, Jeff Rogers, Andy Thalman and Bob Luchetti Jr., and all will serve until the November 2014 general election. Other members of the board are Vice Chairman Charles Schlegel, Sally Wells Ezell, Greta Swan, Sam Kasley, Doris Kasley and Jake Altmeyer.
Levenson previously served on the county GOP executive committee, and her position now needs to be filled. She noted that as chairwoman, she wants members of the committee to be more visible in the community.
"I want members to attend council and commission meetings and various board meetings," Levenson said. "They will listen, and then they will form an opinion and let the community know what it is. That's what a party is all about. It's not about just sitting and having a nice social hour once a month."
If the community presently doesn't know the Republican Party's thoughts on local issues "it's our own fault," Levenson said.
"If you are on the executive committee, you have to be willing to step forward and carry that mission - or you don't belong on that committee," she said.
Levenson lives in Wheeling with her husband, Robert Levenson. In 2012, she ran for the office of Ohio County commissioner, and in 2010 she sought the congressional seat representing West Virginia's 1st District. The Levensons currently operate Prosperity Partners and are actively involved in revitalizing distressed properties in Wheeling. They have been married for 45 years and have three adult sons and three grandchildren.