Greenbrier House Candidate Stephen Snyder: ‘I’ve got a brain and a spine, and I’m willing to use them both to serve’

By Matthew Young, RealWV

“We’ve been talking about the same issues in West Virginia since the 1960’s – jobs, our people leaving the state, the state of our state roads. I just feel that it’s my generation’s obligation to put some of this stuff to rest, and make some positive change.”

That’s what Republican Stephen Snyder told RealWV last week regarding his decision to run for the District 47 seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates. Snyder is one of three Republicans and two Democrats vying to succeed Del. Todd Longanacre in the House. Longanacre previously announced that he will not be seeking a third term. 

“I’m very blessed to have a military retirement that keeps the wolf away from the door so I can make other decisions not based on money,” Snyder said. “But unfortunately if you’re young and you’re trying to raise a family, you don’t have that luxury.”

“Bringing our young people home (to West Virginia) is critically important, but let’s keep from losing them to begin with,” Snyder added. 

After a career spent in the United States Coast Guard, and four years as Director of the Greenbrier Valley Airport, Snyder now owns and operates the Alderson-based Scenic 40 Aerospace. Snyder holds a Master’s degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and continues to work in adult education.

“I get out and talk to a lot of folks,” Snyder said. “I know the issues, I study the issues. I may not have served in Charleston before, but I certainly don’t think that’s a prerequisite to do a good job.”

Snyder noted his advocacy for term limits, adding that he has already signed a pledge which states that, if elected, he will not serve more than two terms in the House of Delegates. 

“That means I’ve got an expiration date on me, and we’re not going up there just to fool around and have lunch,” Snyder explained. “Term limits are a very bipartisan issue. We all agree that nobody should go there and live until retirement. This is about service to the people.”

“There is no higher honor than to be elected by a group of your citizen peers to represent the interests of your area,” Snyder added. “And there truly is no higher honor than to leave that position and come back to be a citizen and support the next person who takes that role.”

When asked about his priorities, Snyder cited economic development as key to the state’s future growth potential. The experience he’s gained throughout his career, Snyder believes, qualifies him for the job of lawmaker.

“I’m very well-read on the issues,” Snyder said. “Transportation, international laws and treaties that people wouldn’t think would apply to West Virginia. I know about the environmental concerns on the waterways – where ships pump their bilges – and how those things go. I also know an awful lot about air-transport, commercial airports, and self-driving vehicles. I have a Master’s degree in uncrewed systems, which includes things on the water, things on the highway, and things in the air.”

“Those things will be coming to West Virginia eventually, so we need to be able to have legitimate conversations about those,” Snyder continued. “If we want to talk economic development, I know those people who want to talk PEIA and PERS, and teachers and education.”

According to Snyder, when it comes to engaging the public and speaking with prospective constituents, he doesn’t “mince any words.”

“I can’t tell everybody what they want to hear,” Snyder said. “That would be very disingenuous, and very ineffective. If I’m going to tell people what is going on, or what is the best direction for a current piece of legislation because maybe they don’t know all the details, maybe I’m not going to tell them what they want to hear, and I expect exactly the same in return.”

“At the end of the day, we have legitimate, cordial – maybe even sometimes a little bit uppity – conversations, but we all go away respecting ourselves and realizing we all live under the same flag in the same free nation,” Snyder added. 

In addition to economic development, with regard to day-one priorities, if elected, Snyder says it all starts with term limits.

“I think that if the Senate was able to put through term limits on a bipartisan, 32 to two vote back in 2021, then I think the House should be taking it up,” Snyder explained. “Let’s do that. All the data that I’ve seen, about 82% of the people agree that we need to have term limits.”

“We have opioid problems,” Snyder continued. “Yes, we talk about it. Yes, we need to really take a hard look at that from the very beginning – from the supply and distribution angle, to what constitutes a felony possession charge. We also need to look at the sentencing and reform side of it.”

In cultivating his campaign platform, Snyder believes simple and straightforward is the best way to go.

“I’ve got a brain and a spine, and I’m willing to use them both to serve the people of this district,” Snyder said. “Furthermore, I will not sell my soul to the devil for this job or any job. Right is right, and wrong is wrong. Special interests don’t get to dictate to our citizens what gets passed in the legislature.”

“I’m a man of my own mind who will represent what the actual people need, and I don’t need a tip to do it,” Snyder added. 

Both the Democratic and Republican nominees for the District 47 representative in the House of Delegates will be selected by primary election. Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 14. General Election Day is Tuesday, November 5.

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