Rose, Overington to face off again

February 05, 1998|By AMY WALLAUER

Rose, Overington to face off again

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - For the third time, Democrat Laura R. Rose, a Martinsburg attorney, is challenging Del. John Overington, R-Berkeley, for a West Virginia House of Delegates seat.

Rose, 39, ran against Overington in the 1996 election and lost by 786 votes.

"It was really a very small loss when you think about the fact that our district and our county turned out such a large number of voters," Rose said. "We had almost a 70 percent voter turnout. That's why we think it's a very doable race this time."

She also ran against him in 1994.

Rose announced her candidacy to run in the May 12 primary last week in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

The third-generation Martinsburg resident said if elected, she will work to improve the education system in Berkeley County.

"I am a mother of two small children and if I am elected, by the time I finish my first term, my son will be just about school-age," Rose said. "I'm a mother, I know the issues firsthand because they affect me and they affect me and my children."


Among the issues that need attention are improvements to school facilities, student-to-teacher ratio and special-needs students, Rose said.

"We need to be able to address the special needs of our students," Rose said. "We should not be putting these kids in the corner and saying it's someone else's problem ... or it will be the criminal court's problem later."

Rose said the way Berkeley County residents pay for the education system needs to be revamped.

"Funding our educational system on the backs of people who own property is antiquated. It's unfair to burden property owners," Rose said.

One way to change that would be to use the surplus, Rose said.

"Shouldn't that surplus go to the educational needs of our children? To me that's a no-brainer," Rose said.

Rose said she hasn't seen anything to indicate Overington has addressed any of those issues during his term.

Overington, a 14-year veteran of the House of Delegates, said he's been active in schools, among other issues.

"I've been a strong supporter of improving the infrastructure and I'm very pleased Potomack Intermediate School is going to be opening next fall in the Marlowe area. With that, North Berkeley will be the first area of the county to have all-day kindergarten," Overington said.

Since first elected in 1984, Overington said he's introduced several bills he's proud of. Among them:

* The Pledge of Allegiance Bill, which brought the pledge back to West Virginia schools.

* A prisoner work bill through which inmates in jail are working for the county or nonprofit organizations.

* A wiretapping bill, allowing state police, under very controlled circumstances, to use wiretaps to go after drug dealers.

He's also introduced legislation that increased animal cruelty fines and reduced fees for veterans' license plates.

Overington promised an aggressive but positive campaign.

Tort reform is Overington's major campaign issue. Frivolous suits increase taxes and insurance costs while discouraging businesses from settling in the area, he said.

"It's less attractive for health-care professionals such as doctors," Overington said. "They know they're just a heartbeat away from a lawsuit."

Overington also said he'd like to see taxes remain the same, and is trying to make it more difficult to approve increases with a proposal to require two-thirds of the legislature to approve such hikes.

"As the state economy has improved, I would like to see some of the growth of revenues returned to the taxpayer in the form of tax reduction," he said.

The last day for candidates to file for office in Saturday.

The Herald-Mail Articles