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Five county commission candidates face off in primary

May 02, 2002|BY SARAH MULLIN

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

One Democrat and one Republican will be selected during the May 14 primary election to move on to the Nov. 5 general election to vie for one open Berkeley County Commission seat.

The candidates are Democrats Butch Pennington and Patricia A. Washington, and Republicans Bill Alexander, James L. Edwards and Steve Teuffel.

Democratic Commissioner Robert Burkhart is not seeking re-election.

A commissioner serves a six-year term and has a salary of $30,800. Currently the commissioners' salary is $28,000, but they will receive a raise of $2,800 - the first in five years - on July 1.

n Butch Pennington, 55, of P.O. Box 623, Edwin Miller Boulevard, Martinsburg, has owned Pennington's Auto Center for 33 years.

He has served on the state executive committee, and is a member of the Berkeley County Planning Commission and Berkeley County Community Advisory Board. He received the Outstanding Democrat of the Year award this year.

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"I want to make sure there is some control over the unbridled growth and keep the quality of life today here tomorrow," he said.

Pennington said he hopes to work toward controlling the growth in the area and to solve the problems of congested roads, water shortages and the added demand on local resources.

n Patricia A. Washington, 47, of 77 Clarion Court, Martinsburg, works as a computer lab technician for Berkeley County Schools and co-owns Groves Cleaning Services.

She said she wants to make positive changes in the county by finding solutions that will strengthen the county's resources that have been affected by growth.

Washington said she will work to make sure there are sufficient roads, land, water and quality schools. She said she will work to find solutions to litter problems and restrict the number of building permits issued to developers.

n Bill Alexander, 67, of 180 Linwood Way, Martinsburg, retired from Bell Atlantic after 23 years and retired as a captain from the U.S. Navy after 10 years on active duty and 20 years in the Reserves.

He is chairman of the Berkeley County Public Service District board, and on the Berkeley County Development Authority. He has been a member of the Berkeley County Fire Board and Ambulance Authority.

Alexander said he hopes to "tackle some of the big problems" by working toward a long-range plan that will deal with growth, such as developing adequate water supplies for the county.

n James L. Edwards, 70, of 627 Hammonds Mill Road, Hedgesville, is the owner of Edwards Auction Service and Edwards Trucking Service, both in Hedgesville.

He served as the Berkeley County assessor from 1970-1980. He unsuccessfully ran for Berkeley County sheriff in 1984.

Edwards said he is against countywide zoning as a way to control growth, but feels more control and limitations should be placed on building permits for new residential construction.

"Growth has to be slowed down. We can't stop it but we need to slow it down," he said. "The people who have lived in the county all their life are my responsibility and my concern."

n Steve Teuffel, 42, of 802 Honeysuckle Drive, Martinsburg, is a temporary employee for the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Virginia. He works in the disaster housing unit, where he helps to house displaced people who have lost their homes due to natural disasters.

He said one of his top priorities if elected would be to upgrade technology within the county offices.

Teuffel said he would work to get more representation for Berkeley County in the state Legislature, find funds for the Sheriff's Department and implement home confinement programs.

He said he is against zoning as a way to deal with growth issues and plans to strengthen the county's infrastructure, such as water supplies, to deal with the growth.

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