Milliken And Pethtel Face Off For Delegate Seat
The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in the upcoming election, with the exception of the U.S. Senate race as it was profiled in a story on the debate sponsored in part by the West Virginia Press Association. Their responses are being printed in a simple question and answer format, candidates in alphabetical order by race.
The general election will be held Nov. 4, with polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voting precincts and their polling places are outlined in the advertisement on page 8B.
Early voting is now in progress, through Nov. 1, in person at the Wetzel County Courthouse. Voting takes place between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday; 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday; and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday. The period for absentee voting by mail is through Oct. 30, with the last day to receive an application for absentee by mail being today, Oct. 29.
Two Wetzel Countians are on the ballot to represent the Fifth Delegate District in the West Virginia House of Delegates: Republican Mary Kay Milliken and incumbent Democrat Dave Pethtel.
Milliken was born and raised in Wetzel County. Attended Magnolia High School and graduated with honors in 1991. She was a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students, 1988-1991; received the Presidential Academic Fitness Award in 1991; and the Golden Paper Clip Award 1991.
She went on to become certified in credit and collections from Pittsburgh Business Systems. Milliken worked at Wetzel County Hospital, then moved on to work as office manager for a local doctor.
Milliken married her high school sweetheart in 1994. She and her husband, Charles (RL) Milliken, have two beautiful children. Abby, 15, is a sophomore at Magnolia and Alex, 12, attends, seventh grade at New Martinsville School. “Both have enjoyed having the same wonderful teachers as RL and I did,One of the perks of our small community” noted Milliken. They are members of St. Vincent de Paul Parish, where she served on the parish council and taught third and fifth grade CCD. They recently purchased a local business and are currently working to fix it up. Milliken is also a member of the NRA and endorsed by West Virginians for Life. “I am dedicated to improving our county and helping its citizens,” said Milliken.
Pethtel, 63, of Hundred, retired from the Wetzel County School System with 40 years of experience. He and his wife, Mary Ann, have two sons, Eric and Kevin (wife Stephanie) and two grandsons, Noah and Trey.
Pethtel graduated from Hundred High School in 1969. He also has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Glenville State College, 1973; Master’s degree from West Virginia University, 1977; plus 45 hours, West Virginia University.
He is a member of various organizations which include the following: West Virginia Education Association, Wetzel County Education Association, Wetzel County Farm Bureau, Littleton Lodge #131 AF& AM, New Martinsville Moose Lodge, Community Sportsman’s Club, West Virginia Democratic Legislative Council, and National Rifle Association.
A member of the Rush Run United Methodist Church, Pethtel serves as PPR Chair for the Hundred-Rush Run Charge.
He was first elected to the House of Delegates in 1988 and served continuously until 1994. Pethtel was elected once again in 1998 and have served continuously until the present time. He presently serves as Assistant Majority Whip; chairman, Pensions and Retirement Committee; Education; Veterans Affairs & Homeland Security Committee; Senior Citizens Issues Committee; and Finance Committee.
What do you feel is the most pressing issue in our area and what would you do, through this elected position, about it?
Milliken: Sadly, Wetzel County has the highest unemployment rate in the state. This is one of my main goals, to help get our citizens back to work. We have plenty of natural resources that can be tapped into to employ our county. It’s our resources and should be employing our county residents, not out of state employees. I support or would make any changes needed to help dig into these natural resources we have been blessed with.
Pethtel: The biggest issue facing our area and West Virginia is the growth of our economy and creation of good jobs for those qualified. We have worked hard to create fiscal stability in our state-an essential for businesses wishing to locate or expand in West Virginia. We have a balanced General Revenue budget, no general tax increase in 19 years, a reduced corporate net tax rate, and the elimination of the business franchise tax and sales tax on food. We have over $800 million in our rainy day fund, an AA+ bond rating. We have paid down debt; every major liability in the state budget is now under a pay-off plan. We are one few states that has managed its OPEB debt.
However, industry needs qualified employees who are properly educated or trained and drug free. We must work within our education system to provide training for jobs related to the development of the Marcellus Shale, healthcare services, technology, and various service related jobs. We must educate today’s generation for the jobs of tomorrow-manufacturing jobs derived from the natural gas industry, careers in innovation and research based in science and engineering, and health care services for an aging population.
Would you propose any legislative changes that affect the natural gas industry? What and why?
Milliken: I will support and/or create any legislative changes that will bring employment to our county and help our great state. We have a rapidly growing natural gas industry, now is the time to make any needed changes to support this growing industry.
Pethtel: Yes. I, along with Northern Panhandle Delegates, will propose a bill to reallocate and dedicate an additional three percent of the present oil and gas severance tax revenues up to 20 million annually to the oil and gas producing counties of origin and their respective municipalities. The bill establishes state and local oil and gas county reallocated severance tax funds and provides for distribution of the moneys to the county commissions and governing bodies of the municipalities by the State Treasurer. A procedure for determining the amounts each oil and gas producing county and their respective municipalities are to receive and requires the creation of local funds into which moneys are to be deposited. Funds are to be used solely for economic development projects and infrastructure projects.
What would you say is one of your greatest achievements that speaks to your ability to serve in this position?
Milliken: Being elected to my church’s parish council. It was a great honor to be elected and serve my church and community. I worked closely with several other individuals on committees to help with the children’s education. This was very important to me as I was a teacher and wanted to improve the system. Working together we got a lot accomplished and is still intact today.
Pethtel: I have worked to earn the respect of people in the 5th Delegate District. That doesn’t mean we will always agree on every issue or vote I cast. I pride myself in getting back with people, trying to help them and giving them an honest answer.
Earning respect with your colleagues in the legislature is just as important as earning respect with the people at home. One can have the best ideas, however, if you are not liked and respected, those ideas won’t go anywhere.
I believe I have earned respect in both areas, making me an experienced, effective legislator. I hope you feel the same way and ask for your support on Tuesday, Nov. 4.