VIENNA - The state is poised to see Republican candidates make great gains in the upcoming elections to gain control in the West Virginia House of Delegates and make strides in other races, local, state and national Republican leaders said.
Area Republican leaders, candidates and supporters gathered at the Parkersburg Country Club Thursday evening for the 2014 Reagan Day Dinner and listened to speakers such as U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., and U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., among others.
"It is a great year for the West Virginia Republican Party," said Conrad Lucas, chairman for the West Virginia Republican Party. "I am excited to be celebrating that here in Wood County, one of our true Republican counties."
Photo by Brett Dunlap
U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., speaks with Rob Tebay, his father, Bob Tebay, who is a candidate for the Wood County Commission, and Blair Couch Thursday at the 2014 Reagan Day Dinner at the Parkersburg Country Club.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., speaks with Sue McKinney Thursday at the 2014 Reagan Day Dinner at the Parkersburg Country Club. Capito, who is running for the U.S. Senate, was the keynote speaker.
If the state party could replicate Wood County's Republican model statewide, West Virginia would have been a Republican state a long time ago, Lucas said.
"This year, we have filled our entire Republican ballot so we will be challenging in all 117 legislative races," he said. "It is amazing for us to think that we are at an age in West Virginia where we have competitive primaries in the southern coalfields.
"We have come a long way. It has been a long time coming, but I believe this is our year for tremendous success."
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey spoke how Republicans are poised to take all three of West Virginia's U.S. Representative districts, a seat in the U.S. Senate (for the first time since the mid-1950s) as well as additional seats in the West Virginia Senate and to gain the majority in the House of Delegates, which sits at 53 Democrats and 47 Republicans.
"Wood County is going to lead the way with a clean sweep on the ticket," he said of the race for the Wood County House of Delegates seats. "The reason we should be excited is not just voting for Republicans; it is electing people who have the principles to fight for the things West Virginians believe in."
Morrisey said his office has returned millions of dollars in settlement to the state coffers and saved money in how outside counsel is hired.
Speakers spoke about the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to listen to a case where an approved permit was retroactively pulled on a Logan County mine by the federal Environmental Protection Agency four years after it was initially approved as an example, they said, of overreaching by the administration and a danger to economic development and investment.
McKinley and Capito talked about the importance of the proposed ethane cracker facility for Wood County.
"We have to believe in ourselves that it is going to happen," McKinley said.
Companies, like Hino Motors in Williamstown, can benefit from the cracker by building trucks that can be used to transport natural gas.
However, a federal agency able to retroactively pull an approved permit creates uncertainty, the speakers said.
"This has almost nothing to do with coal," McKinley said. "This has to do with the power of the government to reach in something and pull a permit.
"That can happen at a shopping center, a chemical plant, steel plant. This is the government being able to reach in and pull away something that people have invested in," he said.
The concern of many in the financial field is will they invest in a project where a permit can be pulled in the future, McKinley said.
Capito, who is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate, said the Obama administration and Senate majority leader Harry Reid have declared a "war on coal" and the president is creating policy by executive orders without the support of Congress.
"These policies create job loss, cause people to move, businesses to close and a lack of investment," she said.
People are needed in office who can overturn those actions and keep the balance of power established in the U.S. Constitution and be able to do what the people elected them to do, Capito said.
"We have to rein it in," Capito said. "We need to keep a check on the president."