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Weld fights for constituents

To the editor:

More than a decade ago, I relocated my family to Wheeling from the Boston area to continue my family’s business in greyhound racing. I own and operate one of the greyhound kennels in Beech Bottom, where we care for up to 84 dogs and employ several full-time and part-time employees.

As you can imagine, last fall when I began to read the news about the president of the State Senate wanting to once again try to end greyhound racing in West Virginia, I became very concerned. I worried not just about my business and my family, but about the hundreds of local people with jobs in the industry, as well as what would happen to all of the greyhounds and who would care for them if racing was forced to close.

In the midst of all this, state Sen. Ryan Weld, who I’d only briefly met once before, reached out to me and asked if he could visit the kennels one evening to discuss racing with me, meet the dogs and see firsthand how they lived. About a week later, Ryan and his wife, Alex, came to the kennel and spent nearly two hours there asking questions and meeting the dogs. I was impressed with his desire to learn more about the industry and see for himself just how well the dogs lived and were treated. He assured me that when the legislative session began the following month, he would do all he could to stop the efforts to shut racing down. And that is exactly what he did.

Ryan worked tirelessly with members of both sides of the aisle to dispel the false information put out by an out-of-state organization with no ties to West Virginia. He kept me informed of what was happening. He genuinely cared and it showed. His district and constituents were under attack and he wasn’t going to be quiet about it — despite the fact that this put him at odds with the Senate president (a member of his own party) in a very public way.

When his district needed him Ryan fought for this area and for the jobs of hundreds of his constituents. He took the time to learn more about the business and see the dogs firsthand. Ryan led the fight and his efforts led to the bill’s defeat in the Senate — saving an industry that’s been in Wheeling for more than 40 years. Ryan has proven himself to be a legislator who will take the time to learn the issues and fight for his constituents – and that is exactly what this area needs.

Steve Sarras

Wheeling

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