Union Area Chamber of Commerce hosts Meet the Candidates event at Monroe County Public Library

By RealWV Staff,

UNION, W.Va. – The Union Area Chamber of Commerce, on April 25, hosted a Meet the Candidates event at the Monroe County Public Library. 

Candidates for Monroe County Commission, Prosecuting Attorney, Assessor, Board of Education, Magistrate, Circuit Judge, House of Delegates, U.S. House of Representatives, and U.S. Senate were on-hand to participate. County Commission candidate and former Republican State Senator Kenny Mann was first to address those in attendance.

“I stay in contact with the legislature and the governor’s office each and every day,” Kenny Mann said. “I feel like, if I’ve got that connection, I don’t want to waste that. I want to bring it here for the county that I love. I love this county and everybody in it.”

“I want Monroe County to prosper, and think outside the box,” Kenny Mann added, “And come up with revenues outside of taxes. […] We’ve got ways to come outside the box and think about things.”

Incumbent Republican County Commissioner Kevin Mann was next to speak, saying, “I’ve lived here in the county all of my life. I had an excavating business which I pretty well let go to do this. Everybody said it’s just one meeting a month – no. There’s a lot more to it.”

“We’ve all just worked together,” Kevin Mann added. “If it wasn’t for everybody in the courthouse […] it wouldn’t run. It takes everybody, it’s not just one person.”

Next to the podium was Monroe County Prosecuting Attorney Justin St. Clair, who is running, unopposed, for re-election. 

“I’m seeking my fifth term in office,” St. Clair said. “I have the motto and standard that I set for myself when I took this job – I said that I wanted to be the prosecutor that I would want if I were a victim. I try to approach every case that way.”

“I handle all the juvenile cases, abuse and neglect cases, all the Magistrate Court cases, and all the Circuit Court cases,” St. Clair added. “I’m usually in court three days a week, sometimes four – sometimes five. […] From 2009 until 2022, I’ve prosecuted 777 felony cases. […] Through the end of 2022, I have an 82% conviction rate.”

Also in attendance and running unopposed, were incumbent County Assessor Sarah Martin, and incumbent Division 1 Magistrate Kevin Miller. 

Watch the full Meet the Candidates event on the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page, or click the link below:

https://fb.watch/rOtmjYVXNd

Three nonpartisan candidates for Board of Education were in attendance, including Scott Womack, who said, “I’m currently a teacher at James Monroe High School – I’m proud of that. I teach French and German, and I’m also a coach there. I coach cross country and golf. […] That school produces some remarkable young people, who go off and do remarkable things.”

Incumbent Board of Education member Sabrina Stutts was next to speak, telling those in attendance, “You have to listen, and you also have to come in knowing that you will not please everyone. I’ve made decisions that I know did not please everyone. Sometimes I’ve made decisions that did not please those around the table I was making decisions with. But you have to go with your conscience.”

Sally Wallace, the second Board member seeking re-election in 2024, followed Stutts, saying, “I am from Cabell County, but I adopted this county, so it’s special to me. I do have 34-years of experience in teaching. I do have two adult children, and I would very much appreciate your vote because I’ve got to finish these programs.”

House of Delegates District 40 Republican candidate Jonathan Fain, and Republican incumbent Delegate Roy Cooper then had the opportunity to speak, with Cooper going first.

“I’m asking you for one more round of letting me serve,” Cooper said. “I’ve been there for 12 years, and I’d like to be there some more. […] Diversification of our economy – folks, we’re on the way to doing that. We’re still digging coal like crazy, and we’re still pumping natural gas, but we’re diversifying this economy.”

Jonathan Fain was next to speak, saying, “I would like to be your voice in Charleston. […]If the people of District 40 say, ‘John, this is what we want you to do,’ then that is the job at hand. I will go to try to push those bills and ideas forward in Charleston, to help bring about some change.”

Jim Umberger, Democratic candidate for the United States House of Representatives, next addressed the audience, saying, “I’m so sick of the shenanigans in Washington. There are a lot of good people on both sides, I’m sure, but they can’t seem to work together. They seem to think that ‘compromise’ is a four-letter word – I assure you there are more letters in it than four. We need to remember that compromise was how this country was built.”

Read The RealWV’s full interview with Jim Umberger by clicking the link below:

Nonpartisan Circuit Judge candidates Kristin Cook, Amy Mann, Keith Lively, and Rod Mohler were on-hand to participate in the evening’s forum, as were nonpartisan Family Court Judge candidates Grady Ford, Kelly Kemp, and Christine Stump. 

Read The RealWV’s full interviews with all seven judicial candidates by clicking the links below:

The evening’s final speaker was Zach Shrewsbury, Democratic candidate for United States Senate.

“I was born in Ripley, in Jackson County, but I actually went to high school here at James Monroe,” Shrewsbury said. “Monroe County has so many memories for me. My first job was bailing hay between Lindside and Peterstown. […] I have a lot of good memories here.”

Read The RealWV’s full interview with Zach Shrewsbury by clicking the link below:

 Primary Election Day in West Virginia is Tuesday, May 14. Voters must be registered either as independent, or a member of a particular political party to vote in that party’s primary election. Nonpartisan elections – Board of Education, Family Court Judge, Circuit Court Judge, Magistrate, etc – will be held on Primary Election Day. Voters are not required to be registered to any particular party to vote in nonpartisan elections. 

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