Judith P. Goontz and Thomas J. Shepherd are seeking re-election as the county's two magistrates. The incumbent Democrats are unopposed.
Goontz, of New Martinsville, took office July 1, 1980, and is one of West Virginia's most experienced magistrates.
"If re-elected, I will continue and look forward to serving the people of Wetzel County," Goontz said. "I will judge each case on its own merit, apply the law, and be impartial, honest, and fair."
While in office, Goontz has continued furthering her education by attending the University of Virginia Law Academy in Charlottesville, Va.
She has also completed and has been certified by the National Judicial Academy.
Prior to assuming her duties on the bench 32 years ago, Goontz worked in the Wetzel County Circuit Clerk's office for six years. She also has been employed by the West Virginia Division of Highways, the Wetzel County Sheriff's Department, and the Wetzel County Board of Education.
(Editor's Note: The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in races of local significance. Their responses are printed in the April 25 and May 2 editions of the Wetzel Chronicle in a simple question and answer format.)
She is the mother of two children, L.G. Goontz (Jackie) of Salem, Ohio, and Lisa Goontz Feldmeier (Brian) of New Martinsville. She has four grandchildren: Larry, Nicole, Hillary, and Haley.
"It's been my honor and privilege to serve the people of Wetzel County for the past 32 years as Magistrate," Goontz said. "If re-elected, I will continue to show the same dedication."
Shepherd is seeking his third term as Wetzel County Magistrate.
"During my first two terms I have adjudicated and administered West Virginia criminal and civil law in a way that is fair and impartial to all parties involved. I will continue to do so in the future," Shepherd said.
Shepherd served as a two-term Sheriff of Wetzel County from 1997 to 2004. He was a graduate of the National Sheriff's Institute in Longmont, Colo., and also served on the board of directors of the West Virginia Sheriff's Association for seven years.
A graduate of Magnolia High School, Shepherd obtained an associate degree in criminal justice from Edinboro University, Edinboro, Pa., and a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from West Liberty State College. He currently maintains and holds a magistrate certification awarded annually by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
He is a native of Wetzel County, the son of Armenta G. Shepherd and the late Rossie Shepherd. He is married to the former Lisa Tennant of Reader and together they have two sons, Taylor and Sam.
He is a member in good standing of the First Christian Church in New Martinsville and Moose Lodge 931 of New Martinsville.
What do you find to be the biggest challenge for a magistrate and how do you overcome it?
Goontz: As being Wetzel County Magistrate since 1980, the many, many repeat offenders amaze me. It is sad that even after a defendant goes to jail or prison, following their release, it won't be long until I see many of them in front of me again. As set out by the WV State Code, each case must meet the elements of the crime and be judged on its own merit.
Elaborate three main reasons you should keep this position.
Goontz: Experience, experience, experience. It has been my honor and privilege to have served as Wetzel County Magistrate the past 32 years. I have continued my education during these years as mandated by the Supreme Court of West Virginia.
I have seen many changes in West Virginia law during those years. I wish to thank everyone who has voted for me and put their confidence in me. As Magistrate of Wetzel County, I am qualified, fair, honest, impartial, and dedicated.
Shepherd: I would return to the office of magistrate a person who is well prepared to serve in this capacity.
My education in the field of criminal justice and my experience as a sitting magistrate make me a qualified candidates to be re-elected magistrate.
I have presided over numerous criminal and civil cases over the last eight years. Add to this my level-headed approach to each case where the law is applied with the use of common sense.
I believe these mentioned qualities make me an individual to be returned to position as Magistrate of Wetzel County.