POINT PLEASANT — Four Republicans and three Democrats are battling for the most votes in the race for Mason County Commissioner in the May 10 primary.
On the GOP ticket, voters will choose from: Scott Cadle, R-Letart, Matt Roush, R-Letart, Sam Nibert, R-Gallipolis Ferry. Freddie Green, R-Fraziers Bottom. On the Democratic ticket, voters will choose from: Danny Elias, D-Letart, Ray Varian, D-Mason, Rick Pearson, D-Mason.
The Point Pleasant Register reached out to those seeking the seat currently occupied by Commissioner Miles Epling, who did not seek re-election. Candidates were asked to provide biographical information and to answer the question, “Why I ran for this office?”
Information as provided by the candidates appears below, starting with democrats and listed in alphabetical order.
Danny Elias is a 1975 graduate of Wahama High School and has been a resident of Mason County his entire life. Upon graduation, he started a career in the cable television industry in Point Pleasant. Over the years, his profession has allowed him to advance and gain vast experience in management, capital projects/budgets/schedules, process improvements, etc. Now a self-employed contractor, he’s also a lifelong member of the St. Mark Lutheran Church, member of AFAM Mason Lodge Clifton 23, Broad Run Gun Club, Bend Area Care. He and wife, Pam, have been married for 36 years, and have one daughter, Jessica Elias.
Elias said: “Being a lifelong resident of Mason County, I decided to run for commissioner because I know I can make a positive impact for the residents of the county. My goals are simple: bring industry to the county and to be a voice for all residents. Mason County has all of the geographical advantages to bringing industry/jobs to the area. We have the two major rivers, railroads, U.S. Route 35, etc. We have competent, hard-working residents, a great educational system, MOVC, vocational/technical center, etc. We have to take advantage of this now to allow residents to prosper, mitigate budget concerns, and assure our children have a safe place to grow up and are given every opportunity to succeed. If elected, I promise to use my experience and dedication to work diligently to make Mason County a better place for all residents.”
Rick Pearson, married to Dezra Sargent Pearson, daughter of Cecil and Phyllis Sargent, from Leon, has three children, and five grandchildren. A lifelong resident of Mason County, he resides in Mason. He owns and operates his own auction business and has for the past 35-plus years. He’s served the community by volunteering to auction the 4-H & FFA livestock sale at the Mason County Fair for the past 30 years. He’s held many benefit actions for various causes in Mason County and the surrounding area. He says he considers it a great privilege to serve this county and plans to continue serving in whatever capacity he can.
Pearson said: “My plans and reason for running for commission is to work with the elected commissioners to bring more jobs and opportunity to our county. I have worked with and have a good relationship with business owners and business officials in our county, and my goal is to work with them towards a common goal of bettering Mason County. There are many other issues I wish to work with the commission on, such as the EMS transportation issue, wherein a plan is being developed, cutbacks being implemented on the health department, the fire departments, etc., due to the closing and/or moving of various large tax paying businesses, plus other issues that are equally as important. I will serve this county passionately and tirelessly with integrity, dedication, and responsibility because this is my county and I care deeply for its citizens.”
Ray Varian is a graduate of Wahama High School and is retired from Goodyear and Shell Chemical. He’s a Vietnam-era veteran and veteran of the Cold War and is a lifetime member of Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion. For over 20 years, he’s served on Mason City Council and is experienced with city budgets and working with other state agencies to replace entire water and sewer filtration system in Mason.
Varian said: “I chose to run for Mason County Commissioner because I am experienced and dedicated. I will go out into the county, visit the city councils and residents of the communities. Asking them about their concerns and by doing this, it will make all county residents feel like they are a part of Mason County. I will be the voice of all Mason County residents. I am the most experienced candidate.”
Scott Cadle is an owner/operator of semi trucks for 30 years. He’s lived in Mason County all his life and is actively involved in the community as a member West Virginia Legislature as delegate in the 13th district, New Haven Road Angels, SEMA Legislative Branch, Car Club, OOIDA Life Member, honorary member Mason County Chamber of Commerce. A graduate of Wahama, he attended Glenville State College and served in the National Guard.
Cadle: “I have been working for Mason County long before the 2012 election in concert with Jim Butler and others to ensure that Route 35 was not tolled and on various other issues. We are getting Route 35 built as a ‘toll free’ road and this was done through learning the legislative process. For the last four years, I have worked in the Legislature working for betterment of our district and West Virginia as a whole. I can make the tough decisions and have been able to accomplish much for all people in West Virginia. I now have a much greater understanding of state and county operations, how to get things done and who to contact in ensuring that things happen. In learning all that I have, I decided that I wanted to focus all my time on Mason County, my family’s home since the 1860s.”
Freddie Green is currently retired from Mason County Schools with 31 years of service and is a former elementary teacher at Ordnance, Woods, Central, Sunnyside, Beale, Hannan and Ashton. An active farmer, and consignor at the Southern Bull Test, he’s a member of the Teays Valley Baptist Church, American Angus Association, West Virginia Cattleman’s Association, West Virginia Professional Educators, vice-president of the Hannan Alumni Association. A graduate of Hannan and Tennessee Temple University where he has a BS Degree in Oral Communications, he has a MA Degree in Elementary Education from Marshall, with successful experience in grant writing. He and wife Tina Blake Green have one son, Jered.
Green said: “This commission seat needs to be filled by a financially conservative person. I am conservative with my own personal funds and I am even more cautious when I am responsible with the funds of others. With the ‘War on Coal’ still in play, I feel that the county and state will continue to see more cutbacks in funding. With these cutbacks, hard decisions will have to be made and these decisions will affect families. Our county has been basically stagnant in job growth over the last 40 years. The land, rivers, and railways that some state politicians say is a perfect scenario for development, were here 40 years ago, but little has changed. We have seen major growth take place around us, but not within us. When I am elected as county commissioner, I will make economic growth within the county my number one goal for Mason County.”
Sam Nibert, is the son of the late Leroy and Winifred Nibert, attending Woods Elementary School, then Point Pleasant High School where he graduated in 1979. He later graduated West Virginia University with a bachelor of science degree in 1983. He’s been employed by Mason County Schools for 23 years, is active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) and currently the vocational agriculture teacher at the Mason County Career Center.
Nibert said: “I have decided to run for political office because there are several issues that are a concern to me. One of those issues that needs confronted is the need for more jobs in Mason County. In 1969, there were 7,859 jobs in our area which increased to 11,291 jobs in 1979. Since then, there has been a decline in jobs back down to 8,738 jobs in our area as of 2014 and is even lower today. Mason County citizens need to know it is a very critical time for ourselves and our families. The tax base is crucial to the planning efforts of our government and this county needs help. If elected, I will be a working county commissioner to bring a new voice, set goals, and create a vision to lead each of you into the twenty-first century.”
Matt Roush is a lifelong resident of Mason County and graduate of Point Pleasant High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy from Marshall University and St. Mary’s, and is employed by Dr. John A. Wade. He’s also known as a farmer who raises Boer goats. While pursuing his degree, he worked at the farm museum and the department of highways. His community involvement includes being on the board of directors for the Mason County Fair, assistant advisor for the Junior Fair Board, chairman of the Mason County Fair Bash and chairman of the Market Meat Goat Division.
Roush said: “Several factors were the driving force for my decision to run for Mason County Commissioner. I am for a balanced budget. I believe Mason County needs to be ran like a business, spending money wisely and utilizing resources like river, rail and highways to promote growth and development. I will always have an open ear to listen to concerns of all citizens. I bring a fresh approach to problems and situations providing ideas for change that might be ‘outside the box.’ I have proven I have a great deal to bring to the table with respect to leadership, experience, and business savvy. I have shown that younger individuals need to step up and take a role. I will be fair to all areas and citizens and do my best using all my abilities.”
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.