(Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of election previews for races voters will decide on Nov. 8. More will follow in upcoming editions.)
POINT PLEASANT — The race for Mason County Sheriff is one of a few county races local voters are watching, with incumbent Greg Powers (D) facing off against challenger Curtis “Curt” McConihay (R).
Each candidate was asked to provide background information about themselves, which could include anything from employment history to qualifications for the office they are seeking. Each candidate was also asked to answer the question “Why I ran for this office?” All candidates were to provide this information within reasonable limits of a designated word count to be fair to each candidate.
Previews will begin with responses from the incumbent followed by the challenger.
Greg Powers background information:
“I have served as your current Mason County Sheriff since January 2013. My 34 years of law enforcement experience, 23 years budget management experience, 23 years supervisory experience, 20 years safety and security experience, and 14 years Homeland Security management have been a huge asset. In 2015 alone my office made 82 drug arrests, answered 6,514 911 calls and obtained over $200,000 in grants. We were also awarded various awards for making Mason County roadways safer including the Agency of the Year Award for Impaired Driving Enforcement. As a result Mason County traffic fatalities decreased 62 percent from 2014 to 2015.”
Greg Powers “Why I ran for this office?”
“I have decided to seek a second term as your sheriff because even though a lot has been accomplished in the past 3 ½ years, there is still work to be done. The image and performance of the sheriff’s office has drastically improved under my leadership. State, county and local agencies in Mason County are working together for the first time in many years. Both the employees of the sheriff’s office and the community deserve this type of professionalism and integrity. I plan to continue our focus on curbing the drug epidemic through my affiliations with the Mason County Prevention Coalition, the Loved Ones Group, and The Meeting House. In addition, our continued investigations and task force involvements are yielding consequences for dealers and their associates. I have shown that effective leadership can make positive changes for Mason County. Working together we can continue to move forward.”
Curtis “Curt” McConihay background information:
Retired Law Enforcement with 23 years work experience. Current Business Owner in Mason County, private investigator bondsman and farmer. Mason County Fair member and volunteer 20-plus years. 4-H volunteer leader, former 4-H member, and member of the FFA Alumni. Graduate of Point Pleasant High School, Southeastern Business College, and Maryland Institute of Criminal Justice (Polygraph examiner). Lifelong resident Mason County. Endorsement from West Virginia Civil Defense League. Endorsed by Dr. Landry Steps of Recovery Program.
Curtis “Curt” McConihay “Why I ran for this office?”
“My main purpose for seeking the position of sheriff is the safety of our community. I am dedicated to the future of our youth, safety of our community and protection of our seniors. New and stronger drugs are taking hold. Theft of property and violence is more and more common. The relationship between Law Enforcement and the community is often strained. The importance of community policing has never been more needed. We must work as a team, hand in hand, to reverse the ongoing trend. To maintain and improve our prevention resource officer program along with D.A.R.E. To educate our children in the dangers of drugs and addiction. To provide a safer environment to learn. To promote peer mediation and reduce bullying/harassment. So many of our friends, neighbors, and family members have become addicted not only to opiates (pain medication) but also heroin and methamphetamine We must come together, law enforcement, judges, and the court system, doctors and hospitals, mental health services, and community outreach and support groups in a coalition to help those with these addictions overcome them. I ask for your support in the upcoming election, so we can join together to fight this epidemic.”
Reach Beth Sergent at email@example.com or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.