Voters in Kanawha County’s 35th House of Delegates District are in the rare position of having more quality candidates to choose from than there are positions available.
In the May 13 primary, six Republicans are vying for the chance to face the four Democratic finalists in November. The Republicans are one-term incumbents J.B. McCuskey and Suzette Raines; two-term incumbent Eric Nelson; and political newcomers Richard McGinnis, a retired Charleston police officer; Marie Sprouse-McDavid, a business owner; and Chris Stansbury, an optometrist and business owner.
The fourth delegate in the 35th District, Democrat Doug Skaff, decided to seek the open 17th District Senate seat being vacated by Brooks McCabe.
While all of the Republican candidates show good conservative business sense, the Daily Mail recommends McCuskey, Nelson, Raines and Sprouse-McDavid.
As new or almost new incumbents, McCuskey, Nelson and Raines still have the fresh perspective of outsiders, but have experience that will help them negotiate the intricacies of the Legislature.
John “J.B.” McCuskey wants the state to take advantage of its unique geographic position among national markets. Regarding education, he said the most eye-opening part of his first term was realizing how few times the word “student” was used during education discussions.
Eric Nelson brings a solid business and investment background to a body that needs such perspective. He has the support of the state Chamber of Commerce, the Business and Industry Council and many others who represent job creators. He pushes for more effective government as well, introducing a bill to make all districts in the House single member districts.
Showing a bright mind and a willingness to work with others, Suzette Raines shows promise as a future party leader. She can bring in new voters for the Republican Party while working well with Democrats. The unexpected serious illness of her mother during the 2014 legislative session and her later death reduced Raines’ attendance, but watch for more from Raines in the future.
While all three remaining candidates show promise, Marie Sprouse-McDavid stands out as a passionate voice for small business owners. She suggests the state work to educate its youth on how to be entrepreneurs, a spirit that generally seems to be missing from public education programs.
Also, optometrist and owner of West Virginia Eye Consultants Chris Stansbury has good ideas to improve the success of small businesses, who are big employers statewide. And first-time candidate Richard McGinnis’ diverse background in military, police and healthcare would serve West Virginia well.
There will be no “lesser of the evils” choices in this race, as any of the six candidates would make capable, thoughtful, conservative lawmakers.