The 36th district of the West Virginia House of Delegates consists of a large chunk of Kanawha County, including the eastern river towns of Belle, Shrewsbury, Chelyan, Cedar Grove and Pratt, among others; all of the southern part of the county south of Tornado and Alum Creek, and an inexplicable smidgen of territory north of Charleston and west of the Elk River.
The district was carved out of the old 7-member 30th district in 2011, creating the 4-member 35th and 3-member 36th districts.
In the May 13 primary, Democrats seeking to represent the 36th district include the three incumbent Charleston residents Nancy Guthrie, Mark Hunt and Danny Wells -- who have served a combined 34 years -- and former two-term delegate and one-term state senator Larry L. Rowe of Malden.
Republicans seeking the office include Charlie L. Basford of Shrewsbury, a mining industry retiree; Jennifer Knauff of Charleston, a 7th-year elementary school teacher; Adam Marcum of Belle, a parts manager; George R. Moore of Charleston, retired from Walker Machinery and Libby Owens Ford; Vaughn T. Sizemore of South Charleston, an attorney; Stevie Thaxton of South Charleston, electrician and small business owner; and Brad White of Charleston, an insurance industry small business owner.
The Republicans offer a fresh alternative to the status-quo Democratic incumbents in the district.
While there are several quality Republicans in the primary race, the Daily Mail recommends Sizemore, White and Moore.
Vaughn Sizemore is a former Marine Corps reservist and economist turned attorney who is well schooled in West Virginia law and legislative actions. While there are many attorneys in the Legislature, Sizemore articulates his clear and concise conservative ideas on legislative and judicial issues well. His legal skills and knowledge would be a huge benefit for the state.
Likewise, Brad White shows a good understanding of the role of the Legislature and the needs of small business owners. Like several of the other candidates, he’s seen firsthand the problems of starting and operating a small business in the state. “We can’t keep on the way we’ve been and expect different results,” he said.
George Moore came to the Charleston area 70 years ago with his parents when they found work in the glass factories. He’s a new face in local politics with a lot of fresh ideas. He was selected by his peers as Speaker of the Silver Haired Legislature. He said he’s convinced the real Legislature is out of touch with the people of the state.
Plain-spoken candidates Adam Marcum and Stevie Thaxton both show promise as future leaders. Their campaigns will benefit from sharper focus and more message clarity in future elections.
In the Democratic primary, the Daily Mail endorses Larry L. Rowe in his return bid. Rowe has a strong history of volunteer service and was a strong education supporter in his previous legislative service.