Meet the Candidates: Mason County Sheriff’s Race

Staff Report

Pictured from left, Robert E. “Rob” Fruth (I), Corey J. Miller (R), Ronnie Spencer (D). The three men are running for Mason County Sheriff. (Courtesy)

Pictured from left, Robert E. “Rob” Fruth (I), Corey J. Miller (R), Ronnie Spencer (D). The three men are running for Mason County Sheriff. (Courtesy)

Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, the Point Pleasant Register will be running “Meet the Candidate” profiles, allowing those running for office in contested races to introduce themselves to voters. Each candidate was given the same word count parameters, then asked to provide background information on themselves and to answer the question “Why are you running for this office?”

MASON COUNTY — Today’s installment of “Meet the Candidates” focuses on the race for Mason County Sheriff.

Three candidates are running to fill the seat currently occupied by Sheriff Greg Powers whose second term comes to an end in January 2021. Those three candidates on the ballot are Robert E. “Rob” Fruth (I), Corey J. Miller (R), Ronnie Spencer (D).

Candidates and their responses to the Register’s request for information, are listed below in alphabetical order.

Robert (Rob) E. Fruth II

Background information

Born to Robert (Bob) E. Fruth (Mason County Sheriff 1981-1988, also chief of police for Henderson and Point Pleasant) and Bonnie June Burnette Fruth, Rob is also a 1987 graduate of Point Pleasant High School and attended both Marshall University and the University of Rio Grande. Father to four sons, one of which lives and works in Mason County, he also has a granddaughter.

Rob has 28-plus years of law enforcement experience. His classes/qualifications include: Methamphetamine Lab Safety and Awareness, Drug Interdiction, Responding to Hate Crimes, Firearm Instructor, Community Policing, a Blueprint for Success, Sex Crimes, Gang Identification and Profiling, The Reid Technique of Interviewing and Interrogation, Drug Task Force Commander, Undercover Drug Investigations, Use of Informants, Law Enforcement Officer Suicide Prevention Seminar, Quota Free Police Productivity System Training, Radar/laser Speed Enforcement Training, Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC), and many more.

Attended the WV Corrections Academy, received the WV State Police Basic Police Officer Certification: Law Enforcement, and attended the Southern Ohio Police Training Institute.

During years working for the Mason County Sheriff’s Department, he completed roughly 60,000 after hours, business and church checks, receiving numerous letters of appreciation from church pastors, community residents, and business owners commending professionalism in the course of duties.

As field training officer, trained over six new officers; was formally commended by superiors for bravery in an officer involved shooting; worked from patrolman to chief of Henderson Police Department, where skills of managing the budget and scheduling were required.

Why are you running for this office?

“First, my father was Sheriff and I’d like to follow in his footsteps.

“Second, I’ve never stopped caring about society and still have the desire and drive to try to make a difference. There are several new concepts I feel would make Mason County a better place to live in.

“The community policing would come with some new techniques such as the first ever Sheriff’s Advisory Council. My advisory council would consist of volunteers who are currently active in the community. I would like to meet with this group and ask the hard questions such as: How’s my department doing, how are things going in your area, do you have issues in or close to your community, and yes drug information.

“I will do free concealed weapons training classes to speed up obtaining your permit.

“In regards to the tax department, I would bring back the ability to get the sticker for your license plate at the tax office. Another thing that I would do is expand the hours and offer a mobilized satellite office.

“As far as the drug problem, I plan on going after the drug dealers. I’m not afraid and I plan to take down as many of them as I can, not an empty promise! I want to seek out all agencies available to accomplish the goals of fighting drugs and crime.

“I will go to a zone coverage for patrols in the department to speed up the response times to rural areas. Business checks and churches will be done during the night shift tour of duty.

“Equipping and adding more training to the department is of utmost importance. Because of the current state of the society, I want to have a better trained department with individualized training to better patrol and serve the county.”

Corey J. Miller

Background information

The Mason County Sheriff serves as treasurer of the county and collects all state, county, municipal and school taxes. My experience in leadership and oversight of large departmental budgets makes me the candidate most qualified for this job. I have a strategic plan I will execute if you choose to give me the opportunity to serve as sheriff. It includes strategies to address the following: 1) protect and defend your constitutional rights, 2) support county youth through enhancing education and support programs, 3) enhance safety to include addressing issues such as the drug epidemic and law enforcement visibility, and 4) operate a professional and transparent tax office and Sheriff’s department. For more details about this strategic plan, visit my Corey Miller for Mason County Sheriff page on Facebook or email [email protected] and I will gladly contact you. I am a NRA member, member of the Point Pleasant Gun Club, and the only candidate to receive an “A” rating from the West Virginia Citizens Defense League (WVCDL). I was born and raised in Mason County and have been happily married for over 20 years to my wife, Candace Miller. We have been blessed with two children, both raised in Mason County. I have strong Christian beliefs and strong constitutional beliefs. I am a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and attended Marshall University from 1996 through 1999 before beginning a career in plant operations. I have fully self-funded my entire campaign and have no political agenda other than ensuring your safety.

Why are you running for this office?

“‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world’ – Gandhi. This quote most accurately describes why I decided to run for office. I say without hesitation, this is not about a paycheck. I genuinely want to make a difference through my work as sheriff. Like many people in this county, I have had my property stolen. Additionally, I am tired of seeing and hearing about friends and family who have lost the battle against drugs. Mason County is not immune to the drug epidemic, and if the issue is not addressed through a comprehensive approach with law enforcement to reduce drug related crimes and support services to reduce drug related deaths, the citizens of our county will be in great danger. This burden was put on my heart, and after much prayer and discussions with friends and family, I knew running for sheriff in 2020 was something I needed to do.

“I am confident that my experience, along with the experience of my committed partner-to-be, Chief Deputy Frank Holcomb, will greatly serve Mason County. Frank will bring along his experience as a WV State Trooper and instructor for the WV State Policy Academy.

“I will be a sheriff who brings about change, for the better. Times are changing and it is time for change. I ask that you please vote for me, Corey Miller, for Mason County Sheriff.”

Ronnie Spencer

Background information

I am a lifelong resident of Mason County. I am married to my wife, Becky, and have three sons, Nathan, Andy, and Jarred. Upon my graduation from Point Pleasant High School in 1975, I began a career protecting and serving the citizens of our county. I worked in Henderson, Mason, and New Haven before being hired by the Point Pleasant Police Department in 1983. I graduated from the West Virginia State Police Academy’s 50th Basic Class in 1984.

While employed by the City of Point Pleasant I worked my way through the ranks as a Patrolman, Investigator, Sergeant, and Lieutenant before being appointed Chief of Police. During my time in this role my main responsibilities were to oversee the daily of operations of the department and manage the budget for the police department.

I dedicated twenty-four years to serving the citizens of Point Pleasant before retiring from the city in 2007.

In 2007, I began my employment as a Deputy with the Mason County Sheriff’s Department and worked as a Certified Prevention Resource Officer (PRO) serving primarily at the Point Pleasant Jr./Sr. High School.

During my career I was awarded with many honors including: 2000 Mason County Officer of the Year Award; 2011 Above and Beyond WV State PRO Award; 2012-2014 Occupant Safety Highway Safety Award; 2016 Speed Patrol Highway Safety Award; 2019 Mason County Deputy of the Year Award.

Why are you running for this office?

“Becoming sheriff is not something I decided to do overnight or at random; it is something I have been planning for the last 10 years of my career. Being an officer is not only what I do, it is who I am. Like many of you, this is my hometown. Your friends and family along with my own deserve a person with the experience and knowledge to lead a department that will keep them safe. I will be a sheriff who works side by side with my officers and other departments to keep Mason County a safe place for all of us to live.“

© 2020 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.

Pictured from left, Robert E. “Rob” Fruth (I), Corey J. Miller (R), Ronnie Spencer (D). The three men are running for Mason County Sheriff. (Courtesy) from left, Robert E. “Rob” Fruth (I), Corey J. Miller (R), Ronnie Spencer (D). The three men are running for Mason County Sheriff. (Courtesy)

Staff Report