Independent Brenda Hutchinson will appear on the ballot in November as the only challenger to Republican Daryl Cowles for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates.
There will be no Democrat in the race.
The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office certified last week that Hutchinson had secured the requisite number of validated signatures to put her on the ballot as an independent for the House of Delegates seat in District 58, which includes the northern part of Morgan County and the eastern part of Hampshire County.
Hutchinson is a former Morgan County Commissioner and a resident of Great Cacapon, West Virginia.
“This race will provide a clear choice for the people of Morgan and Hampshire counties,” Hutchinson said. “I favor a moratorium on mountaintop removal mining. Daryl is opposed. I favor a moratorium on fracking. Daryl is opposed.”
“Last year, I visited Wetzel County and witnessed first hand the devastating effects of hydraulic fracturing on the land, the water and people,” Hutchinson said. “And just this weekend, I visited Kayford Mountain and Cabin Creek and saw with my own eyes some of the approximately 500 mountains that have been destroyed by mountaintop removal mining. That’s the practice used by coal corporations to strip the tops off of mountains to get to a thin seam of coal. This practice destroys our mountains, poisons our water and fish, displaces deer, bear and other wildlife, and sickens local residents.”
Hutchinson said she would push to create jobs by investing in infrastructure and put more money in peoples’ pockets by ensuring that corporations pay their fair share of taxes.
“I favor putting West Virginians to work rebuilding our infrastructure — schools, roads, bridges, and parks,” Hutchinson said.
“And I favor a fair minimum wage for West Virginia workers. Earlier this year, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted 89 to 5 to raise the minimum wage by a meager $1.50 from the current $7.25 to $8.75 an hour. The minimum wage law went into effect last month. Now, hard working West Virginians will get a raise. But Daryl was one of the five members of the House of Delegates who voted against it.”
In a two way race, Hutchinson predicts she needs 3,000 votes — out of 12,500 registered voters of the district — to win it.
During the last off year election — 2010 — 5,658 people voted in the district.
“The overwhelming majority of the people of this district want to stop the out of state corporations that are destroying our mountains, water and natural resources and threatening the health of its citizens,” Hutchinson said. “If elected, I will stand up to those who would would harm us, deplete our resources and flee the state without giving anything back to the people of West Virginia.”
If Hutchinson wins the election, she will become the first elected candidate independent of the two major parties in West Virginia in more than 100 years.
Hutchinson is a 2013 summa cum laude graduate of Shepherd University. She has worked as a paralegal since 2000.
Hutchinson is an active volunteer in the community . She currently volunteers for Mealtime Services and the Morgan County Partnership. She has served on numerous boards in Morgan County, and currently serves on the boards of Senior Life Services, Teen Court, and the Humane Society.