Marshall Wilson Will Run for Governor as an Independent if Mike Folks Loses Republican Primary

West Virginia House of Delegates member S. Marshall Wilson (I-60), has decided not to run for re-election for House of Delegates. Instead, Wilson says that if former Delegate Michael Folk does not win the Republican primary for Governor on May 12, Wilson will run as an independent in November.

Wilson describes himself as a constitutional conservative. 

“I’m looking for someone to dismantle the administrative state, to restructure the government to function according to the Constitution in service to the people,” Wilson told WRNR’s Eastern Panhandle Talk with Rob Mario and David Welch. “Government should maintain the institutions, keep the peace, maintain the infrastructure, allow people to live and uphold and defend their natural rights.”

“The only valid reason for government is to uphold the individual rights of each citizen,” Wilson said.

“Government exists to ensure you can live, to keep a police force to keep the peace, to allow you to survive birth because it doesn’t allow abortion. Government can only take away your right to liberty if you are encroaching on people’s rights. There are certain things we put people in jail for that actually abrogate someone else’s rights.”

Wilson was asked – “Do we need an Environmental Protection Agency? Do we need a mine safety agency?” 

“You have a right to life,” Wilson said. “And that life is dependent on having clean water and clean air. Government has a vested interest in protecting your right to life – assuring that you can have clean water and clean air and that other people aren’t poisoning you.”

“On the other hand, a lot of the regulation is overreach. There is too much of it.”

“I am a minimalist. I am not an anarchist. We need minimal law.”

Wilson said that if he ran for Governor as an independent “it would be a terribly uphill battle.” 

“It would be bloody and ugly and painful and would cost my family a lot. Fortunately, my wife is on board with this. And it would be really hard for her. We’ve got four kids at home and she works full time and this would be really hard for everyone involved.” 

“On the other hand, this is what I’m built for, this is what I am. I fight uphill battles. And I intend to win. Now I intend for Mike Folk to win. If Mike Folk does not win this primary, then I intend to engage fully, to give it everything I’ve got and I intend to win. I don’t play games. I don’t do show battles. I don’t put on demonstrations. I actually fight to win.” 

Wilson was asked about a Today Show report from earlier this month that reported on a foster child in West Virginia who said that when she was hungry, she would eat food out of trash cans.

The report led Delegate Jason Barrett (D-61) to take to the floor of the House and demand that the legislature take action.

“Over 7,000 children are currently in our foster care system in West Virginia,” Barrett said in an emotional plea to his colleagues. “Over 2,800 of them with no in state foster or adoptive home to go to. They’re currently in emergency shelters, group homes, hospitals, transitional living or out of state.” 

Barrett said that bill moving through the House, HR 4092, “provides the necessary increased in the daily rate per child that families receive, allowing more families to open their homes to these 2,800 foster children.”

“It’s been estimated that the cost of this bill is now roughly $16 million. Some here suggests that we can’t afford it. Let me remind you, in that Today Show segment that one child was asked prior to her being in a foster care home, where she got food. Her answer was, they dug in a garbage can.”

“Now, if anyone here thinks that we don’t have $16 million to fund this bill, I want you to take the time to picture a West Virginia child digging in a garbage can for food. And then tell me, better yet, tell these children that we don’t have $16. million. If it is the will of this body, if the majority of this body believes that we don’t have the necessary funds, then you need to reevaluate your priorities.”

Welch asked Wilson about the Today Show segment and Barrett’s House floor speech.

Wilson came back with a question of his own – “Is it the government’s job to feed children?” 

“I would say yes,” Welch responded.

“I would say absolutely not,” Wilson said. “It’s the society’s job. And the problem is we conflate the two on a regular basis. However, our society is failing. So as a function of protecting those children’s right to life, the government needs to step up. But initially, that should be our job as their neighbors.”

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