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Wood County Commission candidates focus on finance, job growth

PARKERSBURG — The candidates running for the Wood County Commission want to keep the county’s finances under control and help create opportunities for job growth.

Republican incumbent Robert Tebay will be facing Republican Roger Brown and Republican Sam Baker for the six-year term. No Democrats filed to run in the race.

Early voting starts today. The primary is June 9.

Tebay, 85, a local businessman, has served on commission for 18 years with two consecutive terms and then one term off and again for the last six years.

”We have a great team here. I enjoy working with this team in making the decisions the commission needs to make,” he said.

During his time on the commission the county’s 911 system was setup which he originally campaigned on early in his commission career, they have improved working conditions for county employees, increased the number of deputies for the Wood County Sheriff’s Department, started Fort Boreman Park and Veterans Park as recreational opportunities are important to the county.

”We have tried to hold down taxes the best we can and it has been tough,” Tebay said. ”There are always wants and needs in the county for new projects and support for senior citizens.”

More can be done for seniors in programs and services, he said.

Tebay said the immediate priority is for everyone to get out of the COVID-19 pandemic, whether through a vaccine or other treatment, so businesses can start up again, other businesses can be brought to the area and more people can get back to work.

Roger E. Brown, 69, is a retired IBEW Local #968 journeyman wireman and had previously served on Parkersburg City Council from 2013 to 2016, during which time he also served as a vice president. Since 2017, Brown has served on the Board of Zoning Appeals as vice chairman and on the Wood County Republican Executive Committee as vice chairman.

Brown is running for the commission to help bring jobs to the area, improve infrastructure and help fight the drug problem.

”I bring experience with a big budget as chair of the city budget committee and experience with infrastructure as chair of the public works committee,” he said. ”I want to create an environment for businesses to come to our area.

”This will allow our tax revenue to increase so that vital infrastructure can be replaced. I want to give the Sheriff’s Department all the resources to fight drugs.”

He wants to work to make the county enticing to businesses to setup here.

”I would like Wood County to be more business friendly and to promote our assets,” Brown said. ”With our highways, railways, river and airport, we are and can be a ‘hub’ to larger cities.”

Baker, 51, is a a senior mechanical integrity technician at DuPont. He is running for the commission so the county can get control over its budget.

”I foresee some rough waters ahead,” he said. ”We are losing a lot of businesses and revenue, in the form of taxes, is going away quickly.”

He has worked with large budgets being a part of DuPont and has had to continue keep an eye on expenses. He has worked with budgets of over several million dollars.

”I’m very good at managing budgets efficiently,” he said. ”What I have realized in the last 20 years is a lot of people think that they have a ‘need’ and it is actually a ‘want.’

”A true budget needs to be based on needs and the wants come later if there is any money that carries over. Even pens and pencils can play a role in a rough year.”

Reduced tax revenues will be one of the biggest issues the county will have to deal with in the immediate future.

”How I would address that is to become more business friendly,” Baker said. ”We need jobs.”

He feels that people need the opportunity to succeed, but to also put the work in to achieve it.

”I’m a firm believer that people should be held accountable and responsible for their own actions, no matter what stage of life we are in,” he said. ”I have lived my life by those goals (instilled in him by his parents). It has worked quite well.

”I feel the world we live in today where everyone feels someone owes them something. That is not a good place to be. You have to have hunger in life, whether for food or for a better life. If there is no hunger, there is no progress.”

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