Greenbrier County GOP Executive Committee hosts District 47 House of Delegates primary debate

By Matthew Young, RealWV

RAINELLE, W.Va. – The Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee, on Tuesday, hosted a House of Delegates District 47 primary debate at the new Cowboy Kitchen Buffet in Rainelle.

Participating in the debate were Republican candidates Stephen Snyder, George “Boogie” Ambler, and Ray Canterbury. Greenbrier GOP Executive Committee Chairman Ben Anderson served as moderator for the evening.

To begin, each candidate was afforded four minutes for an opening statement. 

Ambler, who previously served in the House of Delegates from 2013 until 2019, spoke about the sustained neglect of Greenbrier County’s western half, saying, “Now it’s time to come back and make things happen here.”

Canterbury, who also previously served in the House from 2001 until 2012, highlighted his financial and legislative experience, noting, “I believe, sometime over the next two years, the State of West Virginia will be faced with a financial and fiscal emergency.”

Snyder, who has no previous legislative experience, highlighted his signing of a term-limit pledge, as well as his endorsement by the West Virginia Freedom Caucus, adding, “They (Freedom Caucus) know all three of us here at this table, but they chose to endorse me.”

To open the debate, candidates were asked to share their thoughts on supporting the Meadow River Valley, particularly the Meadow River Rail Trail. 

Snyder was first to answer, saying, “This state is amazing, I love it here. I brought my family back home for a reason.”

“Tourism dollars count – it is an economy,” Snyder continued. “I’ve been talking to [people], not just through the course of this election, but for over a decade now. […] When we took the high schools out of our towns and put in the interstate, we ripped the heart out of our small towns. Let’s get it back.”

Next to respond was Canterbury, who said, “I’ve actually imagined that West Virginia will one day be the host of a rail-trail system that will stretch from Harpers Ferry, to Wheeling, to Huntington,” Canterbury said. 

“Can you imagine hoping on a bicycle in Harpers Ferry and riding all the way to the Ohio Valley?” Canterbury asked. “I think that would be an attractive thing. I absolutely support rail-trails – this one in particular would be great. I think the idea ultimately would be to integrate all of them into a single integrated system.”

Ambler was last to provide his answer.

“I like the idea that we’re all looking to use tourism dollars that are so prevalent out there in West Virginia,” Ambler said. “The rail-trail as we call it certainly is a cornerstone to anything that’s going to happen on this side of 219.”

Watch the full Greenbrier County GOP Executive Committee’s House of Delegates District 47 primary debate on our Facebook page, or by clicking the link below:

https://www.facebook.com/share/v/cH6PN9BnzsMXpVS2/?mibextid=WC7FNe

For the second question, Anderson asked the candidates, “Are you aware that the Greenbrier County Health Department has a needle exchange program? If so, do you support this program?”

Canterbury, who was first to respond, simply said, “No.”

Ambler then noted that while he was vaguely aware of the program’s existence, his preference would be that such a program would be unnecessary. 

Lastly was Snyder, who provided the most detailed answer, saying, “I’m not for needle exchange, but I am for every possible opportunity. We need to think outside the box. Conventional methods haven’t worked. Incarcerations haven’t necessarily worked. […] We need to look at every possible option.”

A question regarding each candidate’s level of comfort with West Virginia’s current abortion legislation garnered a variety of answers. 

“This is an important issue that we all struggle with,” Ambler replied first. “The abortion bill, with the eight week (restrictions), I’ll tell you something, that is too narrow of a window. […] I would like to see it changed from eight weeks, up to a longer period of time – 14 or 15 weeks. I think that just gives people a much better idea of whether they want to continue to carry that child.”

Canterbury disagreed with Ambler, saying, “I think that we have to protect life from the beginning, with the strongest legislation that we can possibly get. I think the legislature got as much as they could, and I’m okay with that.”

Snyder, who also expressed his agreement with the current legislation, offered an unexpected analogy.

“We raise cattle,” Snyder said. “If I took those cows to the third trimester and […] I went out and aborted the fetus out of every one of those cows, and then sold off their parts for scientific research, you all would hang me. They would put me in prison.”

The Greenbrier County Republican Executive Committee will host a House of Delegates District 46 primary debate on Thursday, May 2, in the auditorium of the Schoolhouse Hotel in White Sulphur Springs. All three candidates, including incumbent Delegate Jeff Campbell, Trey Ewing, and Thomas Perkins have confirmed their participation. 

The debate begins at 7 p.m., and will be livestreamed on The RealWV’s Facebook page. 

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