(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of election previews for races voters will decide on Nov. 8. More will follow in upcoming editions.)
POINT PLEASANT — The race for House of Delegates in the 14th district is one many local voters have been talking about and one which will affect a large portion of Mason County. Residents in the district will be choosing between incumbent Jim Butler (R) who is facing off against challenger Samantha Fooce (D).
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 for the sake of fairness.
Previews begin with responses from the incumbent.
Jim Butler background information:
“My family lives in Gallipolis Ferry on the farm where my mom was raised. I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and two teenage children who attend Point Pleasant High School. We are all very active at The First Church of God and I am working for a bright future for my kids, and for yours. I joined the Marine Corps when I was seventeen, and shipped off to boot camp following graduation. I graduated top of my class in all military technical schools and became a helicopter crewchief where I was part of the air crew. I completed numerous military schools including aircraft maintenance administration, quality assurance, water and land survival schools, shipboard firefighting, and nuclear weapon handling and transport. I was also an aircraft machine gunner, and I trained young Marines to replace me as I moved up in rank. I spent a large part of my time in the service aboard “helicopter aircraft carriers” where we patrolled Southeast Asia including Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Japan etc. I am honored to have had the opportunity to help defend our country. I remain a member of Am Vets, American, Legion, Marine Corps League, and many other organizations.”
Jim Butler “Why I ran for this office?”
“I ran for the House of Delegates in 2012 because I love the people here, and the farm where I live. I was however tired of seeing West Virginians suffer due to decades of policies that make it unnecessarily difficult to earn a living here, especially for our kids. Completing Route 35 was also a big issue and I knew that I could help get the road completed without tolls. Now four years later I am running for re-election, and I have gained respect and seniority among my colleagues; that means that I have more ability to help our community. Route 35 is under construction because of my work in the transportation committee. My attention is necessary to keep things moving; Route 35 is vital to improving our region and the entire state. I have also worked in the House of Delegates to protect people from unreasonable lawsuits. We also made changes to improve the environment for job creating businesses, which given time, will provide more job opportunities for many more West Virginians. I have had success in making improvements in education. Knowledge and professional relationships that I have developed will help me to do even more to improve learning for students, and to improve conditions for teachers. Difficult economic conditions caused by unreasonable federal regulations, and poor policies of the past, have harmed our state’s economy. My experience as a small business owner, and in the Finance Committee, will be needed to navigate through this difficult time. Wise policies that I support will allow people to find jobs and live better lives. More people working allows for better services for seniors, veterans and our children. I am endorsed by the NRA and West Virginians for Life. To succeed we need proven leadership. I am respectfully asking for your vote.”
Samantha Fooce background information:
“I am currently a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC) and have worked with clients of all ages. I have experience working with disabilities, trauma, substance abuse, educational problems, grief, depression and other behavioral health conditions. I have worked in the clinic, community and school settings. My work history also includes: Mason County Crime Victims Advocate, Protective Services Worker, Care Provider at GDC, Suicide Hotline/Crisis Counselor and AmeriCorps VISTA Program Coordinator/America Reads Tutor. I graduated high school in 1993, and I have a master’s degree (M.Ed.) in community and clinical counseling, a bachelor’s degree (BSS) in behavioral sciences and an AAH from Ohio University. I am involved with the Point Pleasant Bike Trail Committee, The Tu-Endie-Wei Garden Club, The French Art Colony’s Riverby Theatre and enjoy volunteering within my community when I can. I am a current board member for The Meeting House, past Secretary for the Mason County Community Corrections Board, and I plan to open my own private practice in counseling in the future. I am endorsed by business, education, healthcare, labor and law enforcement, and some of my endorsements include: United Mine Workers, WV Sheriffs’ Association, WV Nursing Association, WV Education Association, Mason County Education Association and many more.”
Samantha Fooce “Why I ran for this office?”
“I am running for the West Virginia House of Delegates because our voters’ voices have been ignored for too long. During our past legislative session, I witnessed thousands of hard working West Virginians pack the halls of our capitol, only for their pleas to be ignored by our government. Our middle-class families are suffering, and much more hardship is expected in the future, with an estimated budget shortfall of $350 million to $650 million predicted for 2017. I am passionate about protecting our elderly, empowering our educators, reducing drug related crimes and deaths, honoring our veterans, fighting for our working class, supporting small businesses and building a West Virginia which attracts and retains our youth. I am very patriotic and will work hard to maintain our freedoms. I fully support our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and I will not support legislation which oppresses our citizens. West Virginia is my home, and her people are my family. I am a good listener and problem solver, and I believe in the power of prayer, resilience and hard work. I also believe in our children, that each of them deserves quality education, to be free from danger, and regardless of background can grow up to do great things. I want to motivate our youth, teachers, nurses, social workers, law enforcement, veterans, home makers, business owners, seniors and others to become more actively involved in the political process. I value others’ opinions and invite you to contact me and together straighten this state out. Working as a Crime Victim’s Advocate, there were times when heart-broken, victims were told, ‘That’s the law. If you want the laws changed, speak to your legislators.’ I believe there is a time to speak to your legislators, but when they don’t listen, it is time to become our legislators.”
Reach Beth Sergent at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.