John Isner on Poverty Teachers and Tally Reed

John Isner grew up in West Virginia. He knows the problems facing working class people in West Virginia because he grew up in a working class family.

He went on to law school and now he’s running for House of Delegates in the 59th District — which includes the southern part of Morgan County and the western part of Berkeley County.

Isner’s mom was a single mom raising four kids in a one bedroom house. He knows poverty first hand because he’s experienced it first hand.

“Going through poverty as a kid, I was very upset about it,” Isner told Russell Mokhiber of This Week in Morgan County. “But now, I’m thankful. I can understand where people are coming from. I know what it’s like to have to live on government assistance because I grew up in a single parent household. I know what it’s like to have to worry about whether or not my siblings are going to eat. There were times when my mom didn’t eat because there was only enough food for the four of us. I got to watch that growing up. That put me in a place where I am very thankful for what I have today. It’s because of community backing and people who were helping my mom and we got through it.”

Isner now teaches political science at Shepherd University. And now he’s practicing what he teaches.

When asked about the how the teachers won their five percent pay raise, Isner reverts to his classroom lecture.

“I talk about it all the time in political science classes to my students,” Isner said. “If you want to get anything done, you have to have a group of people to do the things that need to be done. And they stick together through the process. And that’s exactly what you saw.”

“You didn’t see people jumping back into school. You didn’t see teachers on the border saying — I don’t know if I’m going to keep doing this. No. They were full force at it. And they were not going to stop until they got what they deserved. And that’s the type of political change that is going across the country now. It started in West Virginia. Now it’s in Arizona and Oklahoma. And people are saying — wait a second, we can do this. We can actually fight and get what what we need. West Virginians have done this before. It isn’t surprising. But it’s great to see that it’s happening now.”

Isner supported the teachers throughout the strike. But he says he grew up in a conservative household.

“It was odd that I became a Democrat,” Isner said.

Isner says there are about 6,300 doors in the 59th district. And he plans on knocking on every one of them.

Isner is running unopposed in the May 8 Democratic Party primary. He will face the winner of the Republican Party primary — either former Delegate Larry Kump or Tally Reed.

As we reported earlier this year, Tally Reed changed her voter registration in January from the home where she lives and raised her family in the 58th district to a house the Reeds own seven miles down the road in the 59th House of Delegates district.

On March 7, Tally Reed appeared on WRNR’s Eastern Panhandle Talk with Rob and Dave. (Audio here at 1:33:30)

And she was asked about the controversy.

“I live in Morgan County and I have a Hedgesville address,” Reed said.

(True. Reed lives Berkeley Springs in the 58th — that’s where she raised her family, that’s where she lists her address as being Treasurer of the Debra McLaughlin for Judge campaign, that’s where Tally Reed and her family live. She does have an address in Hedgesville – the 59th. That’s where she registered to run for House of Delegates. That’s where, on the front lawn, she keeps a big campaign sign for Tally Reed for House of Delegates and for Debra McLaughlin for Judge.)

Co-host Rob Mario then asked a series of questions.

Mario: You are qualified to run in the 59th?

Reed: Yes.

(If Reed resides in the 58th district, she’s not qualified to run in the 59th.)

Mario: Do you actually live in the 59th?

Reed: Yes.

(Anybody who knows the Reeds and where they live knows that is an embarrassing answer.)

Rob Mario: That should be the end of any controversy, right?

Reed: Yes.

“They gave me a Hedgesville address,” Reed said.

(Reed gave herself a Hedgesville address so that she could run in the 59th District.)  

“I hope that she is being truthful,” Isner said. “If this is an issue going forward, she needs to step up and say something and say — I did this the wrong way. She needs to be truthful because if you are starting out with a lie in a political campaign, there is a problem there.”

“I have never met Tally,” Isner said. “I’ve not had that opportunity. But if somebody knows something, step up and do something. I don’t have enough information to do anything on it. I pray and hope that she is telling the truth. But if she is not, then this is a major issue going forward. She needs to live here.”

(Tally Reed did not respond to messages seeking comment for this article.)

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