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Three vie for Senate District 3

PARKERSBURG — The race for West Virginia Senate District 3 involves three candidates, the incumbent Republican Donna Boley, Democrat Robert “Robin” Wilson Jr. and Libertarian Travis Shultz.

Beginning her term in 1985 and running for her 10th term, Boley, of St. Marys, hasn’t experienced such an election year during her tenure: unable to be in session since March due to COVID-19 forcing everyone away from Charleston.

Unable to meet voters without going from door-to-door or meet and greets, Boley has been making calls to voters by herself to make up for the lost events.

“This will be my 10th time to run and I don’t ever remember a time like this, that you couldn’t go out and go door-to-door or meet people at local restaurants and so forth. It’s been hard,” Boley said.

Three main policies for Boley will be broadband, taking care of the roads and continuing to improve education in the state.

Due to a bond of $1.2 billion that was passed three years ago, Boley said roads are being fixed that haven’t been fixed in a long time.

Boley said the state has to continue to improve the school system even during the pandemic, stating the state didn’t have the best system in place before the pandemic started. One way to help is to improve broadband connections so everyone can have access to high-speed internet.

“Some of them are home-schooled, some are doing virtual learning. I’m just not sure if we’re going to be on that,” Boley said. “So we’ve got to get on the ball on the education issue. Have everybody working together, teachers from the school service, our state board of education, the legislators.”

Wilson, from Spencer, has a teaching certificate in biology and social studies education from Glenville State College. In addition to being a former teacher in Kanawha County working with at-risk students. Wilson helped start a business, Spring Creek Natural Food, and provided the area with jobs and food for 32 years.

Wilson was a 2016 Democratic candidate to the U.S. House of Representatives to represent the 2nd Congressional District of West Virginia. He was defeated by Mark Hunt in the primary.

This is the second time Wilson is running for Senatorial District 3, the first in 2014, losing to David Nohe.

Wilson has worked with Energy Efficient West Virginia to help residents save money on utility bills and to respond to the climate crisis by reducing fossil fuel use.

Wilson said the current tax system is broken. It provides unfair tax breaks for the wealthy and leaves the burden on everyday-working West Virginians.

“Most people agree that the big money the ultra-wealthy are controlling elections, by their contributions, and their lobbyists and stuff like that. So I’m thinking that we need to change that,” Wilson said. “Because if you have a true democracy, it’s not run by the ultra-wealthy. One way to work on changing that is candidates who refuse to take corporate PAC money.”

Wilson wants to work to rebuild the economy after the pandemic and to prevent a far worse public disaster looming in the climate crisis.

“I’m concerned about a safer climate future and I think it’s one of the roles that the government can do is to incentivize clean energy. And make policy, so clean energy becomes important, that means like renewables for solar, wind, and water power. That’s a priority of mine to work on a way we can have a safer climate future.”

Shultz, of St. Marys, will be running for a second time for office. The first occurred in 2006 for the House of Delegates. His main points of interest will be keeping taxes low, keeping the budget balanced and keeping local control if possible.

“I’m a pretty small, conservative guy when it comes to the policies of keeping taxes low, keeping things simple, don’t have any additional government that we don’t necessarily have to have. If it can be done better on the local level as opposed to the state level, let’s do that,” Shultz said. “It’s a lot easier to fix things when things go sideways at a local county level than trying to get the governor and all the legislators in line and tow and working things out.”

Shultz also said elected positions should not be a permanent career and every generation needs to step up.

“Government is not the only solution for all the problems in the world and sometimes it is the cause of them. It is just as important getting rid of bad legislation as it is passing a better bill.”

Contact Tyler Bennett at tbennett@newsandsentinel.com

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