Jane Burdette stepping down as Wood County Democratic Party chairman

PARKERSBURG — The chairman of the Wood County Democratic Party announced Friday she will step down next month.

Chairman Jane Burdette will end four years as chairman of the party, saying new faces in leadership are good and that additional responsibilities are taking up more of her time.

“I think you need new blood,” she said.

Burdette has discussed ending her tenure for several months and has attempted to step down in the past, but was persuaded to remain each time. However, commitments now require more of her time and running the party leaves little to spare, she said.

“This is a pretty full-time job,” said Burdette.

Burdette’s last day will be on Feb. 9 when Karen Campbell, vice chairman of the Democratic Party, becomes interim chairman. The executive committee will meet on Feb. 9.

“It has been a real privilege to have someone of Jane’s stature and character,” Campbell said.

Campbell said she will look into forming a committee to search for a new chairman.

“Those are going to be big shoes to fill,” she said.

Burdette on Friday sent a letter to members of the committee and others announcing her intentions to resign at the Feb. 9 party executive committee meeting.

“It has been a challenge and pleasure to work with each of you. I would start thanking you by name but I am so afraid of missing someone,” the letter said. “I am choosing to pursue some other options that have presented themselves. I appreciate the time and opportunities this position has afforded me and the personal friendships that have grown.”

Burdette became chairman upon the resignation of Harold Brown four years ago. She thought it was going to be for a short period, but it didn’t, she said.

She cited accomplishments and challenges overcome, including leading Democrats supporting opponents and having speakers at committee meetings discussing the homeless, law enforcement and drugs, the Affordable Health Care, the cracker plant and human trafficking.

“Jane has served Democrats and her state well. It is an honor and a privilege to have been able to work alongside her to move Democrats forward in West Virginia,” state Democratic Party Chairman Belinda Biafore said. “I am proud to call her a fellow Democrat and a friend. We know there are great people on the committee that will continue the hard work.”

Her political career included running for mayor of Parkersburg. She is an advocate for those with disabilities and was involved with the YWCA of Parkersburg, was chairman of the Wood County Commission on Crime, Delinquency and Correction, the Wood County Juvenile Crime Enforcement Coalition, the Parkersburg Community Organization on Disability, the West Virginia Rehabilitation Advisory Council and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

“I tip my hat to Jane for her work for democracy in Wood County and being a worthy advocate for the Democrat Party,” Wood County Republican Party Chairman Rob Cornelius said. “She has been nothing but classy, polite and eager to cooperate on events for the good of our citizens.”

Besides difficult issues on the municipal and national scenes, Burdette served as chairman when the Democrats lost the Legislature for the first time in 80 years, Cornelius said.

“For handling that difficult timeline with dignity, she has nothing but my respect,” he said.