WELLSBURG - Two Brooke County officials will compete for a seat on the Brooke County Commission previously held by the late Bernie Kazienko.
Tim Ennis of 2009 Pleasant Ave., Wellsburg, and Richard Ferguson of 150 Caldwell Ave., Wellsburg, seek to serve the remainder of Kazienko's term.
Both are Democrats. No Repulicans have filed for the office. The seat must be filled by a resident of the Wellsburg Magisterial District, but anyone may vote for the individual to fill it.
The election also will determine a race for a seat that must be filled by a resident of the Follansbee Magisterial District.
Those unable to cast ballots that day may vote early at the Brooke County Courthouse between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday through May 5. April 17 was the last day to register or make changes in one's voter registration.
Candidates for sheriff, county prosecutor, two county magistrate seats, two seats on the county school board and several state and federal offices also will appear on ballots.
Ennis was appointed to the seat in January following Kazienko's death of Bernie Kazienko. Prior to that, he served as a representative of the 2nd Delegate District, which includes Brooke and Ohio counties, in the state House of Delegates for 17 years; and on Wellsburg City Council from 1989 to 1993 as well as the city's water-sewer board.
He is employed as a bus driver for Brooke County Schools.
Ennis said his experience in government and important contacts he has established in Charleston and Washington, D.C. have prepared him to help Brooke County through challenging times ahead.
He said as a state legislator, he brought people together to tackle difficult problems and if elected, will work with commissioners, community leaders and citizens to move Brooke County forward.
Ennis said if elected, he will push for economic development to create jobs and additional revenue for the county, the extension of public water and sewer lines to unserved areas and, working with state and federal officials, improvements to local roads and the development of a new bridge at the southern end of Brooke County.
Ferguson is in the last year of his second four-year term as Brooke County sheriff. State law prohibits county sheriffs from serving more than two consecutive terms.
He previously served as sheriff from 1977 to 1980 and as interim Wellsburg police chief and Brooke County constable.
Ferguson said, "My campaign is focused on the progress of Brooke County and the well-being of our citizens. I will be a full-time commissioner. I will hold regular office hours with an open door policy."
He said, "Brooke County is at the center of a unique phenomenon with the discovery of Marcellus and Utica shale formations containing enormous gas deposits. We must be certain Brooke County is included in the oversight of this industry and that our resources are not depleted without benefit to our local economy."
Ferguson said as sheriff, he saw that sheriff's deputies continued to serve as prevention and resource officers at local schools, and if elected, he will continue to support that program and others aimed at youth.
"I will approach county operations with a wise, common sense fashion. I will be certain that all departments stay within their approved budgets," he said.
(Scott can be contacted at email@example.com.)