As election season picks up during the Covid pandemic, local candidates are getting creative, finding new ways to reach voters. Social distancing requirements have limited traditional meet-the-candidate events. So candidates are going where the voters are to talk about the issues on people’s minds.
For example, the Summers County Democratic Executive Committee is working with local stores and markets in all areas of the county. Candidates set up outside the store and give folks a coupon for a free hot dog and pop inside the store. That gives candidates the opportunity to meet voters outside in the open air without congregating in large groups. The Executive Committee reimburses the store and that helps support local businesses.
The Democratic candidates have met with voters in downtown Hinton at Kirk’s Market, in Nimitz at Angell’s Grocery, in Hillsdale at Gotta-Stop, in Lowell at Par Mar Lowell Market, and at Vandall’s Store in Green Sulphur Springs. Several candidates have taken part in the opportunity to meet with Summers County voters. Bill Laird, candidate for WV Senate 10th District and Mary Ann Claytor, candidate for WV Auditor have stopped by to hear the concerns of the people in Summers County.
Candidates have listened to people’s stories about life during the pandemic and have learned what their priorities and concerns are. J.C. Wheeler, candidate for sheriff, says that the main concerns here in Summers County are the drug epidemic and how to resolve it, domestic violence and resource centers, driving under the influence and most importantly the overall safety of everyone in Summers County. Ryne Nahodil, candidate for WV House of Delegates, found that voters share his main priorities of improving education and jobs that pay a living wage. Voters tell Bill Lightner, candidate for Summers County Commission, that their highest priority for Summers County is creating jobs by attracting manufacturing and supporting tourism.
Even during a pandemic, voters have opportunities to meet and learn about the candidates for local and state offices. While the presidential race gets most of the attention in the news, local and state elections can have an even greater impact on people’s lives. You can register to vote until October 17. Early in-person voting will be held at the Memorial Building and runs from October 21 to October 31.