RealWV hosts Sheriff candidates during second night of Greenbrier County Primary Debates

By Matthew Young, RealWV

LEWISBURG, W.Va. –  The RealWV, on Thursday, hosted the second of two scheduled Greenbrier County Primary Debates at the Lewis Theatre. The evening featured partisan candidates for the office of County Commissioner, Sheriff, and West Virginia House of Delegates Districts 46 and 47. 

NOTE: This article contains coverage of the County Sheriff’s forum. Click here for RealWV’s coverage of the County Commissioner’s forum.

All three candidates for County Sheriff – former Greenbrier County Chief Magistrate Doug Beard, current Greenbrier County Chief Deputy Bart Baker, and former Preacher Mark Robinson – participated in the evening’s panel. Lt. Col. (U.S. Army Retired) Scott Womack, Ed. D., served as moderator for the evening.

To begin, Womack asked, “The Sheriff is asked to wear multiple hats – law enforcement, taxes, community leader. How would you strike that balance?”

Beard was the first to respond, saying, “You have a chief deputy who runs the department on the law enforcement side, carrying out the goals and vision of the Sheriff.”

“In the tax office, they do a great job,” Beard continued. They’re responsible for where the county gets its funding […] so that’s very important. And as far as community involvement, I’m not one to sit at a desk all day. I would like to be out a couple times a month, checking in with the different mayors and chiefs of police to see what we can do to better assist.”

Baker was next to provide his answer.

“Obviously the Sheriff does wear a lot of hats,” Baker said. “The best way to handle that is you put the right people in the right places, and you train them well.”

“Currently at the Sheriff’s Department, we have some very well-trained individuals, including our tax deputies,” Baker continued. “Obviously one man can’t do it all. You pick good people, you put them in the right places, you train them well, and you oversee them. As far as community involvement goes, […] as Sheriff you need to be out with the people, and check in with your people quite often to make sure they have what they need to continue to do their job.”

Robinson was last to give his answer, saying, “These gentlemen have experience. If you’re looking for experience, they’ve got it – I don’t have it.”

“I’m running because of a situation with my family, and I’m trying to publicize that, so I’m running for Sheriff,” Robinson continued. “I’m the only person running for Sheriff who’s been put in jail four times. […] When I’m put in jail, it’s not the Sheriff who does it. When I go to pay my taxes, it’s not the Sheriff who’s sitting at the desk. The Sheriff is sitting in a different room. He oversees everything, but in terms of the nuts and bolts of running the organization, all of that is done by people who know how to do it better than the Sheriff.”

Watch The RealWV’s Greenbrier County Partisan Candidate Primary Debate on our Facebook page, or by clicking the link below:

Womack then shifted the conversation to individual leadership styles, about which Baker described his preference as “leading from the front and leading by example.”

“You train your people to replace you,” Baker explained. “A true leader wants better from his people than he can do. You set the example and train these guys. I’ve been a leader in the department – I’d like to think so, anyway – for probably the last 20 years. The specialties that I have, I’ve been training the younger deputies to take over for me.”

‘When you lead from the front and don’t ask them to do anything that you wouldn’t do, you foster good leadership within the department,” Baker added.

Beard concurred with Baker regarding the concept of “leading by example.”

“I wouldn’t ask anyone to do something that I wouldn’t do or haven’t done,” Beard said. “I was with the Sheriff’s Department for nine years – Chief Deputy my last year – and did everything from A to Z. In Magistrate Court, I was Chief Magistrate from 2011 until I retired. I oversaw the entire Magistrate Court and the Clerk. […] I always treated them with respect if there was an issue, and was always willing to listen if someone had a better idea.”

“That’s how we’d move forward to accomplish our goal,” Beard added.

To learn more about Doug Beard, Bart Baker, and Mark Robinson, read The RealWV’s candidate profiles at the links below:

The Real WV’s Greenbrier County Primary Candidate Debates were made possible through the sponsorship of Sunset Berry Farm, the Robert C. Byrd Clinic, Grist Real Estate Associates, the Rainelle Medical Center, and Wallace & Wallace Funeral Home. The RealWV would also like to thank Susan Syner and Mary Baldwin of the newly renovated Lewis Theatre for hosting both nights of the debates.

Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 14. Early voting runs May 1 through May 11, excluding Sundays. Due to the ongoing construction project, the Greenbrier County Courthouse will not host early voting. The Romano Law Offices on Court Street in Lewisburg, and the Rupert Community Center on Nicholas Street in Rupert will serve as the county’s two early voting locations. Early voting hours at both locations are from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. 


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