Local school athletic referee Brooks McCumbee will run as an Independent against House Majority Leader Daryl Cowles (R-Morgan) for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in District 58.
That makes it a three way race between the incumbent Republican Cowles, the Independent McCumbee and the Democrat Bibi Hahn.
McCumbee says he needs only 65 signatures of registered voters in the district to get on the ballot in November.
McCumbee said made up his mind to run against Cowles during the teachers’ strike.
If you were going to call a foul against Cowles, what would it be?
“Blocking,” McCumbee said. “He blocked the teachers from getting what they needed. And unsportsmanlike conduct — not being considerate of others.”
McCumbee said his mom worked as a state employee — as a masseuse at the Berkeley Springs State Park for close to thirty years.
“When she got sick in 2009, she had a $100,000 medical bill,” he said. “And PEIA along with Medicare covered everything except $500. Now, it would be much more.”
“Because of my mom’s situation, I knew the teacher’s cause was just,” McCumbee said. “When you worked for the state, you didn’t make as much as you should have, but you had good benefits. But now they don’t even have that. Teachers rallied around me and said — you have to run against Daryl Cowles. When asked about the teachers’ strike, Cowles would reply — I’m watching. That’s not good enough to watch. PEIA affects the state road guys, the gals at the courthouse, the people at the state parks. It affects the employees that run the offices down in Charleston.”
“Cowles should have supported the teachers from the get go,” he said. “Medical insurance is high. Deductibles are going up. Out of pocket expenses are going up.”
“Finally, the whole Republican side gave the teachers a five percent raise and felt that would appease them,” McCumbee said. “But they want to get their health insurance fixed. There is going to be a strike in August or September. You can bet on it. And I’m going to support the teachers 100 percent.”
“They need to roll back the deductibles, premiums and out of pockets to the way it was in 2009.”
McCumbee says that if elected, there are a number of issues he would like to work on.
First, he would work to fix PEIA.
“I don’t how to fix PEIA, but the public employees deserve that it’s fixed sooner rather than later,” McCumbee said. “They need to roll back PEIA to the way it was in 2009. Fewer out of pockets, lower deductibles and less premiums.”
He would work to raise the homestead property exemption for people 65 and older from $25,000 to $50,000. “Knowing that won’t fly, maybe we can get it up to $30,000,” he says.
He would put metal detectors in all schools middle school level and up. “That would protect kids and teachers,” he says. “I was working a basketball game a couple of years ago at Harpers Ferry. You never see any cops at a girls middle school game. I saw four cops at that game. Turns out, there was a former student there with a gun that wanted to shoot the seventh grade girls coach. That wouldn’t have happened with metal detectors.”
He would exempt Social Security benefits from state income tax.
He would like to drug test all school employees and athletic officials.
And he would work to repeal the sales tax on home heating fuel. He’d make up for the lost revenue by increasing the tolls on the West Virginia Turnpike by 25 cents.
Instead of spending $60 million on the proposed bypass around Berkeley Springs, McCumbee said he would spend it on a new Route 9 to Martinsburg and fixing up the roads in Morgan County.