Brown stepping down as Democrat chairman

PARKERSBURG – The chairman of the Wood County Democratic Executive Committee is leaving the post.

Harold Brown on Thursday announced he was retiring, but will remain on the executive committee. Brown of Parkersburg cited personal reasons, mainly that he and his wife, Louise, are preparing for a smaller home and related responsibilities.

“Our house is on four levels,” he said. “We want to be on one.”

Brown has been chairman since March 2011.

A meeting to choose a successor will be held 7 p.m. April 11 on the second floor of city hall. The chairmanship is open to any Democrat from Wood County; however, the vote will be taken only by members of the executive committee, Brown said.

“Any Democrat,” he said.

At least one person who is “exceptionally qualified” is interested, he said. Nominees can be made from the floor during the meeting, Brown said.

Changing leadership now will allow ample time before the 2014 elections for the new chairman to adjust, he said.

Brown notified the executive committee by letter on Thursday. The committee also met on Thursday.

Among the victories during his tenure was Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin carried Wood County in the November general election, Brown said.

“We thought that was an accomplishment,” he said.

Brown is a former county commissioner from Putnam County. He has a degree in chemistry and economics from the University of Charleston and he was a supervisor at the former Viscose plant.

He became chairman after a brief stint by former Chairman Jim Ball, who succeeded long-time chairman Walt Auvil in June 2010. Ball resigned in January 2011 and executive committee member Sunny Drost became acting chairman until Brown was selected as chairman.

The party experienced 10 years without serious internal conflicts under Auvil, Brown said.

“Much of the credit for this state of well being is due to the deliberate and wise leadership of Walt Auvil,” Brown said.