Marty Gearhart

CHARLESTON — Former Delegate Marty Gearheart is throwing his hat back into the ring to once again represent the 27th District, which covers most of Mercer County and part of Raleigh County.

Gearheart, a Republican, has filed pre-candidacy documents to run for one of the three seats allocated to the 27th District.

“Southern West Virginia voters have allowed me to represent them and it has been humbling to have been extended the honor of serving Mercer and Raleigh County in the West Virginia House of Delegates,” Gearheart said, adding that much was accomplished recently but much is left to do.

“I look forward to the 2020 campaign where I can discuss and debate keeping West Virginia great and how we can continue to become greater,” he said. “My record will show that I am battle tested and am a conservative with a heart for West Virginia. I look forward to a spirited campaign.”

Gearheart, 57, was first elected in 2010 to serve the 24th District, then represented the 27th District from 2013 through last year, not running for reelection in 2018 to instead seek the GOP nomination to run for the 3rd District Congressional seat.

Carol Miller won that GOP primary and went on to capture the seat, held previously by West Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Evan Jenkins.

Del. John Shott, also a Republican and serving the 27th District, is retiring and will not seek reelection next year.

“I hate to see John leave,” Gearheart said. “He is a friend and I am convinced he has the toughest job in the House as chair of the Judiciary Committee.”

Experience counts, he said, and he has a track record, including serving on the finance committee and chair of the roads and transportation committee.

“I believe I did a pretty fair job representing this district to make us more competitive,” he said. “Folks have agreed with that by their votes.”

But several areas of concern remain for Gearheart, and he wants to return to Charleston to address them.

“A lot of things still need to be done, including a broad piece of tax reform to make us more competitive,” he said. “We need to pay attention to that.”

Gearheart said other concerns include he allocation of funding through the Parkways Authority and the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) is a “constant problem” and the process should be streamlined to get people in and out of offices quicker.

Contact Charles Boothe at cboothe@bdtonline.com

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