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Local residents submit names for State Senate appointment

Charles Wifong, of Dunmore, and Reta Griffith, of Marlinton, have submitted resumes to be considered for a State Senate appointment.

Two local residents and a former Pocahontas County resident have added their names to a list to be considered for an appointment to the State Senate.

As reported last week, State Senator Clark Barnes, representing the 11th Senate District, is expected to be elected Clerk of the Senate on January 14 and resign his State Senate seat. Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is responsible for appointing a replacement, who must be a Republican, like Barnes. The 11th Senatorial District Republican Executive Committee has convened and collected names of persons interested in an appointment.

Charles Wilfong, of Dunmore; Reta Griffith, of Marlinton; and former county resident Charles Kinnison, of Elkins, have added their names to the list.

Wilfong operates Wilfong Farms in Dunmore and has served for more than 18 years as President of the 17,000-member West Virginia Farm Bureau. He is a 1976 graduate of Pocahontas County High School and serves as a director for four insurance companies and Southern States Cooperative.

Griffith served two terms as a Pocahontas County Commissioner and has worked for more than four years as a General Manager with Frontier Communications. She is a board member of High Rocks Educational Corporation and the West Virginia Community Development Hub. She also serves as a Commissioner with Volunteer West Virginia.

Griffith resigned her position on the 11th Senatorial District Republican Executive Committee in order to be considered for the State Senate seat. Karen McCoy, of Hillsboro, replaced Griffith on the Executive Committee.

Kinnison grew up in Hillsboro and graduated from Pocahontas County High School. He served two years as an Elkins City Councilman and has worked in health and wellness for 13 years. He currently works as a Health Educator with Anthem, Inc., and resides in Elkins.

Edward Tyre, a former member of the Randolph County Board of Education, also submitted a resumé in the previous week. Other applicants for the Senate seat, as reported last week, include Duane Borchers, Gregory Boso, Harold Sigler, Jr., and James Steven Ferguson, of Nicholas County; Tate Summerfield and Carolyn Capelli, of Randolph County; and Allen Evans, of Grant County.

The deadline for submitting names to the Executive Committee passed on December 23. The Committee will interview applicants in the coming weeks and recommend three applicants to Tomblin in January. The Governor must select one of the three recommended applicants.

Tomblin Communications Director Chris Stadelman said there is no formal process for the Governor to receive input from the public at-large concerning applicants to become their next State Senator.

“Governor Tomblin always appreciates hearing from West Virginians across the state about issues happening in their communities, however there is no formal process for receiving public input as part of the appointment process,” Stadelman said. “To fill the vacancy, the governor must choose his appointee from a list of recommendations made by the district Executive Committee.”

Benjean Rapp, Chairman of the 11th Senatorial District Republican Executive Committee, said public comments in support or opposition of applicants can be submitted to Operations Director Jason Huffman with the West Virginia Republican Party at, or mailed to Jason Huffman, West Virginia Republican Party, PO Box 2711, Charleston, West Virginia, 25330.

Tomblin’s appointment will serve out the remaining two years of Barnes’ term, assuming Barnes is elected Clerk of the Senate. A Republican caucus nominated Barnes for the position last month, making his election during the opening session on January 14 a near certainty.

Web update:  Ellen Spears, of Elkins, has submitted her resume for State Senate. Thanks to 11th Senatorial District Republican Executive Committee member Jeremy Bauserman for the update.

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