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Three seek 51st Delegate post

October 15, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Three candidates are vying for the 51st District House of Delegates seat, which encompasses most of Morgan County and the easternmost portions of Hampshire County, and is an area where all-terrain vehicles, education and the medical malpractice issue are important.

Seeking the seat are Democrat Vicky Law, 51, of Martinsburg Road in Morgan County; Republican incumbent Charles S. Trump IV, 42, of Berkeley Springs, who is seeking his sixth term; and Mountain Party candidate Barbara Tutor, 69, of Sunny's Way in Berkeley Springs.

The post pays $15,000 a year and is up for election every two years. The election is Nov. 5.

Law, who has lived in Morgan County for nearly nine years, is a high school graduate who is self-employed.

Trump, a lifelong Berkeley Springs resident and an attorney, received his undergraduate degree from Princeton University and his law degree from West Virginia University.

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Tutor, who holds a master's degree in business administration from Loyola College in Baltimore, has lived in Morgan County for 21 years. She is retired.

On the issue of ATV regulation, Tutor and Law hold a similar stance. Both feel ATVs should be permitted on public roads - although Tutor said not on roads with truck traffic, like W.Va. 9 or U.S. 522. Each feels riders must have a driver's license and wear a helmet.

Trump does not believe ATVs should be allowed on public roads, with the exception of farmers who need to ride them briefly on roads to access their property, he said.

Meanwhile, with doctors threatening to leave the state because of high malpractice insurance premiums, the issue has become one of statewide importance.

Both Law and Tutor said they do not feel caps should be placed on jury judgments for people found to have suffered at a doctors' hands. Tutor said the insurance premium problem lies within the insurance companies, which she said are trying to make up for stock losses.

Law agreed.

"Capping damages doesn't reduce the premiums," she said.

Trump favors a cap of $250,000 on jury judgments for non-economic damages.

All three candidates named education as a top priority and said teachers need higher salaries. Each also spoke about the ongoing debate regarding school vouchers - or whether parents should be reimbursed to send their children to private schools.

Tutor said she opposes vouchers, while Trump said he likes the idea, but wonders how well it will work in rural areas. He said vouchers will probably be more successful in densely populated areas.

Law said she doesn't "see anything wrong with private education."

Tutor is passionate about stopping mountaintop removal, which she called a criminal act.

Law said she is "not strongly for mountaintop removal," which she said takes away from the state's beauty. However, she said she understands both sides of the issue.

Trump said he has concerns about the environmental impact of mountaintop removal, but said it's a safer line of work than deep shaft mining. Regardless, he said it's an issue more in the hands of federal, not state, officials.

When interviewed, each candidate mentioned other issues they deemed to be of importance. Law, for example, said she is a strong union supporter and believes people have the right to bear arms.

Trump said the state's "archaic" tax structure needs to be reformed to better attract businesses, and said it has been a challenge channeling resources to the Panhandle to address needs that accompany growth, like water and sewer service, roads and schools.

Tutor said she favors a universal health care system and said she does not want Paw Paw High School to close, as is rumored.

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