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Strauss seeks Senate seat

January 19, 1998

Strauss seeks Senate seat

By DON AINES

Staff Writer, Martinsburg

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Former Berkeley County Commissioner Howard L. Strauss says he likes competition and intends to provide some in the GOP primary against incumbent state Sen. Harry E. Dugan.

Strauss, 44, of Martinsburg, has announced he will run against Dugan, R-Berkeley, in the May 12 primary.

"I believe in competition and in the Republican primary that will bring out more people," he said Sunday night.

Dugan last fall announced his intention to run for a second term representing the 16th District.

"I will work tenaciously to repeal the state food sales tax," Strauss said. He said he was at a town meeting Saturday in Marlowe and most of the people there said they traveled to Maryland to avoid the sales tax, which is not charged in that state or Virginia.

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"When they go to buy food they buy other products," which Strauss said hurts other West Virginia merchants.

He said many seniors are also at a disadvantage because they often can't drive out of state to save money.

Strauss said he would also work to increase the homestead exemption for seniors from $20,000 to $40,000 on the assessed value of their homes. He said the exemption hasn't been increased in more than a decade.

Strauss, a commercial developer who owns the Wheatland Commercial Centre on U.S. 11 south of Martinsburg, said he would like the law changed to encourage civil arbitration and to create penalties for those who file frivolous lawsuits.

He also favors the death penalty and putting inmates to work.

Strauss was appointed to the County Commission in 1992, serving a one-year interim appointment when another commissioner resigned for health reasons.

In 1996, he was elected to office, but six months later the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the election in favor of Robert L. Burkhart over a residency issue.

The issue involved Commissioner D. Wayne Dunham, who was living in the Norbourne District when he was elected. Although Dunham moved to the Valley District before the 1996 election, Strauss said the court ruled that there could not be two commissioners from the same district.

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