Two are seeking seats representing the 1st Senatorial District in the West Virginia Senate.
Republican challenger Pat McGeehan of Chester and Democratic incumbent Jack Yost of Wellsburg hope to represent the district, which includes Hancock, Brooke and Ohio counties and part of Marshall County.
McGeehan is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he studied history and general engineering. He served the Air Force from 1998 to 2006, during which he was an intelligence officer in the Middle East and Afghanistan and other assignments and obtained the rank of captain.
He served a term in the state House of Delegates in 2008 and was on Senate committees of government organization, constitutional revision, energy and industry, labor, economic development and small business.
McGeehan is a business account executive for Frontier Communications and author of a book, "Printing Our Way to Poverty: The Consequences of American Revolution." He is chairman of the Hancock County Republican Party, past adjutant general for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6450 and a member of the Knights of Columbus Chester Council and Wheeling Rotary Club.
He led efforts in 2006 to establish a B-52 bomber veterans memorial in Chester in tribute to his father, who also was an Air Force veteran, and other other veterans.
McGeehan said many service members are returning from abroad with serious physical and mental wounds, while others have died. He said the U.S. shouldn't enter into war without an act by Congress and he would push for a state law prohibiting West Virginia Guard and Air Guard units from being deployed unless that has occurred.
He said state government has doubled in size in less than 10 years, with nearly 40 percent of its budget from the federal government. That funding will dry up as Congress attempts to cut its trillion dollar deficit, he said.
"The state Senate is responsible for confirming 10 of 13 members of the West Virginia Investment Management Board, which invests the state's funds into different assets," he said. "These funds are used to pay retired school teachers and public employees, their pensions and benefits in the future. But these funds aren't invested in things that will protect them from inflation, should it begin to worsen in the future. Being prudent and conservative with these investments now will ensure these funds can weather the volatile conditions that are sure to come soon."
Yost has served since 2008 in the state Senate, serving as chairman of the labor committee, vice chairman of the military committee and on committees of finance, government organization, health and human resources and energy, industry and mining.
He was a state delegate from 2002-06, was vice chairman of political subdivisions and assistant majority whip and was on committees of business, finance, government organizations, veterans affairs and energy, industry, labor, economic development and small business.
Yost was a Wellsburg councilman, member of the city's water-sewer board and the Brooke-Hancock-Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission and is founder and president of the New Ohio River Bridge Task Force, which was formed to encourage the development of a new bridge between the southern ends of Brooke and Jefferson counties.
He served in the Army Reserves for six years, during which he was named company soldier of the year; and employed at a tool and die-maker at Weirton Steel for 39 years.
Yost said the state, though fiscally sound, has seen a decline in tax revenue, from declining coal and natural gas prices and coal production as well as out-of-state competition for the gaming industry, that has caused state agencies to face budget cuts of 2 percent to 7.5 percent.
He said to address this trend, he has supported the creation of the West Virginia Future Fund, through which a portion of revenue from the Marcellus shale gas boom would be reserved for future use and the introduction of vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas into the state's fleet.
Yost said if elected, he'd also push to make compressed natural gas vehicles available to the public, which he said would lower residents' fuel cost and encourage consumption, bringing much needed revenue for repairs to the highway system.
He said the state's prison population is expected to increase about 4.6 percent each year, rising to 9,723 inmates by 2020.
"By investing in treatment and community corrections programs, we can lower regional jail costs for counties and provide help for West Virginians addicted to drugs and alcohol," Yost said.
(Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)