Weekley And Lemley Meet In Commission Race
Editor’s note: The Wetzel Chronicle sent questionnaires to candidates in local, contested races. In an effort to provide fair, informative election coverage, they are being printed in simple question and answer format, preceded by the candidates’ biography.)
Republican Larry Weekley and Democrat Scott Lemley are both seeking the Wetzel County Commission seat that will be vacated by Barbara King.
Lemley is the son of Bill and Diana Lemley of Hundred, the grandson of Phyllis and Scott Yost of Hundred, and the grandson of the late George and Lela Lemley of Hundred. He is a member of the Harmony Baptist Church in Burton, W.Va. He has been a lifelong resident of Hundred. He graduated from Hundred High School in 1999 as valedictorian. He continued his education at Fairmont State University and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration in 2003; his majors were Finance and Management. He obtained his Executive Masters in Business Administration from West Virginia University in 2007.
Lemley has worked for First Exchange Bank for the past six years and has held different management and officer positions during that time.
He started his role in public office by being appointed to the Hundred Town Council in 2000 and then ran for Mayor of Hundred in 2001 and served a two-year term. In 2004, he decided to run for a seat on the Wetzel County Board of Education. In January 2008, Lemley had to resign his seat on the Wetzel County Board of Education to place his bid for Wetzel County Commissioner because of the restrictions described in West Virginia Code 18-5-1a.
Weekley is a lifelong resident of Wetzel County. He is the son of Faye Weekley of New Martinsville, formerly of Porters Falls, and the late Robert Weekley. He is married to Wetzel County native Donna (Yost) Smith Weekley and they live in Porters Falls. He has three children, one grandson, two granddaughters, two step-children, and three step-grandsons.
A 1967 graduate of Valley High School, Weekley also graduated from Fairmont State College in 1972 and Marshall University in 1978. He worked three summers at PPG and was a member of the International Chemical Workers Union.
Weekley has been a Wetzel County educator at VHS for 36 years, during which time he also served as a coach all 36 years. He is the former Athletic Director at VHS, a position he held for 20 years.
He is a former two-term president of the Shortline Lions Club and former two-term treasurer of the Wetzel County Republican Committee. Weekley is a member of the First Church of God, Russell Ave., New Martinsville.
1. Do you have a plan for progress in Wetzel County? Give some specific steps to achieve that goal.
Lemley: Yes, I have a plan for progress in Wetzel County. My steps include the following:
a) We have to develop committees throughout Wetzel County to help push economic development and improved infrastructure. The members of these committees need to include business leaders, community leaders, concerned citizens, the chamber of commerce, and educators.
b) Once we develop these committees throughout Wetzel County, we need a member from each committee throughout Wetzel County to meet to discuss a strategic plan and vision we have for our county.
c) We have to work with our municipal and city governments to help meet their needs and expectations.
d) We have to help provide more services to our senior citizens in Wetzel County.
Economic development, improved infrastructure, and keeping our children and families in Wetzel County are issues I am very passionate about in serving as an elected official in Wetzel County. If the citizens of Wetzel County decide I am the best candidate for the job, I promise to work tirelessly on these issues that are an integral part of our community. We must have a plan and a vision for the future!
Weekley: Progress in Wetzel County should be a continuous goal for everyone. I plan to work with other commissioners, business leaders, city officials throughout the county, our elected state officials, and citizens who want to be involved to brainstorm ideas. We then must contact businesses and corporations to see what their needs are for the future sites of expansion. We need to show specific available sites in Wetzel County, then set a timetable to accomplish our goals.
2. The ongoing issue of the proposed tipping fee increase at the landfill has been a contentious one in the past year. If you are elected County Commissioner, do you have a plan to help alleviate or resolved this situation?
Lemley: This is a very distressing issue because the end result has hurt our students in Wetzel County. My plan would be to work with the solid waste authority to help alleviate this problem. It is my understanding the West Virginia Public Service Commission sets these rates.
Weekley: Tipping fees have increased in the past five years by about four percent in the mid-Atlantic region. We need to work with the landfill company to set a maximum tipping fee for say the next three years. Another idea is to work with them for waivers for environmental clean-up that benefits the general public, those that are sponsored by non-profit or community groups, with the purpose of beautification of an area.
3. Mobile telephones have become a staple for people, particularly for use in emergency situations. However, most of Wetzel County is not serviced by mobile telephone service. Is there a way you can help make this modern convenience that can be crucial in an emergency more available?
Lemley: I live in an area that is not provided by cell phone coverage. I have to drive approximately 15 miles before I can obtain cell phone access. We have to work with the various phone companies in our communities in order for this to become a reality. We need to work to obtain available funding through grants and other programs that help provide this type of service to our citizens. Also, I would be willing to look at the county’s budget to determine if a program requires matching funds whether or not the county is solvent enough to provide these matching funds. Or, if we would have to look at two separate programs in order to obtain the funding. For example, one program could be through the West Virginia Development Office and the other program could be through the part federal government tied with Homeland Security.
Weekley: Mobile telephone and high speed internet service for all citizens of Wetzel County is one of my top priorities. Wetzel County has many “dead areas” where mobile phone service is not available-intersection of 7/20 to Morgantown, Jacksonburg to Clarksburg, and even just a mile out Doolin are just a few. Commissioners from other counties have written grants to improve their services and some have encouraged the phone companies to increase the power on their towers. As a commissioner I will work hard to see that all citizens, students, and businesses of Wetzel County have 21st century services.