Mike Harvey seeks to be a ‘catalyst for change’ in his bid for Fayette County Commission

By Matthew Young, RealWV

The West Virginia Secretary of State’s Office, on Tuesday, reported that a “record number” of political hopefuls have filed their candidacy this week, officially beginning their campaigns, and waving the green flag on primary season. 

One such hopeful is Fayetteville-resident and local businessman Mike Harvey, the self-professed radical moderate Republican, whose Monday filing established him as a candidate for the Fayette County Commission. 

“We need a smarter approach to growth within the county from an economic standpoint,” Harvey told RealWV on Friday, before the opening of the filing period. “Just recently, in May, we signed off on the 2022 comp (comprehensive) plan for the next 10 years. But as part of it, we didn’t put together a plan to make sure it was implemented.”

A county’s comprehensive plan outlines all financial, geographical, cultural, and agricultural components within its borders. State code requires that all West Virginia counties update their comprehensive plan every 10 years. 

“Everything that we mentioned in the 2001 comp plan that we rubber stamped and put a carbon copy in place for in 2011, was also addressed again in 2023,” Harvey explained. “So, when 2033 comes around, will we do the same thing again and keep kicking the can another 10 years for our kids and grandkids to work on?”

“It’s necessary to make sure that these small towns that have been forgotten about – like Meadow Bridge, Gauley Bridge, Smithers – have what they need to maintain a sense of respect,” Harvey added.

Harvey, whose mobility is achieved primarily through the use of a wheelchair, endured two strokes in 2017 which paralyzed the left side of his body. Now, more than six-years removed from the debilitating strokes, Harvey is working to regain the ability to walk. 

“I’m not a politician, I’m literally your neighbor,” Harvey said. “I just want to help. Are you hungry? Do you need a job? Are your kids being fed? How can I help?”

“If I can be a catalyst for change, that’s all I care about,” Harvey added.

Much as Harvey is working to bring change to his damaged body, he wants to help bring new life to the dying towns in Fayette County. 

“If you look at what some of our mayors are doing – Montgomery and Ansted as an example – that far exceeds their job descriptions, it’s amazing,” Harvey said. “Mayor Greg Ingram in Montgomery, he’s on his own reaching out to his old contacts in the corporate world, and bringing in industry to vacant buildings. He’s got a robotics company coming in from South Dakota. He did that on his own without any support from the commission.”

“Steve Pridemore, in Ansted, has been reaching out to Senators Capito and Manchin to get help with funding for sewer infrastructure north of the bridge,” Harvey continued. “Is that something that our state delegation and our county commission should be making sure is happening? Yes.”

“I see people who should be taking on the responsibility that their roles require of them, and they’re not doing it,” Harvey added. 

Harvey hopes to interact in-person with as many voters as possible during his campaign, but will also be hosting weekly Facebook Live events, emanating from different areas of Fayette County. These events have been dubbed “Drive Time with Mike Harvey,” with the first event held on January 3 in the Wolf Creek Park area. The events will be held every Wednesday at noon. 

According to Harvey, the only way to truly understand the needs of a community is to go out and ask its members. 

“We’ve got kids here who want to work – with no jobs,” Harvey said. “We’ve got kids whose parents have addiction issues. There are children who, during the school year, from Friday night until Monday morning, don’t know where their next meal is coming from.” 

“If we go to the county commission today and say that we need an addiction center in Mount Hope, they’ll say, ‘That’s not our job,’” Harvey added. “Well, maybe it’s not their job today, but what about tomorrow? We’ve got empty schools now in Mount Hope that aren’t being used. How can we turn those properties into something that can benefit the community tomorrow, and address these issues?”

According to Campaign Manager Holly Clark, Harvey will soon be forming a nonprofit organization, called “Making A Difference In Service To Fayette County.”

“This enables him (Harvey) to get some of these things done, whether he wins this election or not,” Clark told RealWV. “That’s his mission – his mission is to help those who need help in the far reaches of our county.” 

Clark added that the organization intends to utilize a dedicated “economic developer” to source grant opportunities for the betterment of the county. 

To learn more about Mike Harvey’s campaign for the Fayette County Commission, visit his YouTube channel, or his website, at votemikeharvey.com

Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 14. Voters must be a registered member of a particular party, or registered as “no party preference,” to vote in primary elections. Voters may only participate in one party’s primary. General Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

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