Morgan Co. board members to seek re-election in May

January 11, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Two of the three Morgan County Board of Education members up for election in May are seeking re-election.

Margaret Zembower and Margaret Gordon said Tuesday they are running again to retain their four-year terms on the board.

Filing for Morgan County candidates in the 2006 primary election began Monday and runs through Saturday, Jan. 28.

The primary election is May 9 and the general election is Nov. 7.

Cathy Payne, chief deputy in the Morgan County Clerk's office, said candidates running for the Morgan County Commission, Morgan County Board of Education and the Democratic and Republican executive committees may file at the Morgan County Clerk's office at the courthouse on Fairfax Street in Berkeley Springs.

The courthouse is not open on Saturday, Jan. 28, to accept filings in person. Filings will be accepted if postmarked by midnight on Jan. 28 and are in proper order, Payne said.


One Morgan County Commission seat currently held by Robert L. Ford is up for election. Ford announced last month he will not seek re-election as commissioner from Magisterial District 1.

The West Virginia Legislature as well as the federal candidates seeking election will file through the West Virginia Secretary of State's office during the same dates, Payne said.

Two House of Delegates and one Senate seat representing Morgan County are up for election.

Delegate seats

In the 51st District, Ford, a Democrat, and Daryl Cowles, a Republican, have announced their candidacy to replace Charles S. Trump IV, R-Morgan, who will not seek re-election in 2006. Both candidates are Morgan County residents.

The 51st District includes the northwest side of Morgan County and the eastern portion of Hampshire County.

Del. Craig P. Blair, R-Berkeley/Morgan, has held the 52nd House of Delegates seat in the Legislature since 2002.

"I am 95 percent certain I will run for the House of Delegates," Blair said. He said there is a 5 percent chance he will run for the senate seat currently held by state Sen. John R. Unger II, D-Berkeley/Jefferson.

Like Trump, Blair said does not want to spend more time away from his family, and a senate seat would require more time away from them.

Morgan County was redistricted in 2001, said Jo Vaughan of the Legislature's Redistricting Office in Charleston, W.Va.

Based on the 2001 U.S. Census, there was a population shift, and the 52nd District was formed for "adequate representation" by the House, she said.

The 52nd District includes the northwest side of Berkeley County and the southeast portion of Morgan County.

State senate

The only senate seat up for election affecting Morgan County citizens in the Legislature currently is held by Sen. Walt Helmick, D-Pocahontas.

Helmick was elected to the state senate in 1990 and has been re-elected every four years. He is seeking re-election, he said.

Helmick said he served in the House of Delegates for one term in 1988-1990. He was a Pocahontas County commissioner for 12 years and also served on the Pocahontas County Board of Education.

Board of Education

Three of the five Morgan County Board of Education members are up for election in 2006 and will be decided in the primary election in May. It is a West Virginia law, said Howard O'Cull, executive director of the West Virginia School Board Association in Charleston, that school board members can be determined in the primary election since they are nonpartisan positions.

Margaret Zembower in Magisterial District 1, Luke Christie in Magisterial District 3 and Margaret Gordon in Magisterial District 2 currently hold those seats.

Zembower said she will run for re-election and she has held the seat for at least the past 12 years, she said.

"I think we have a good working relationship, and I love serving on the board," she said.

She is a former schoolteacher and taught for about 40 years.

"I care about the teachers and their students," Zembower said.

Luke Christie said he will not seek re-election to the school board. Christie has served since 2000.

He said he has learned a lot and "really enjoyed" serving on the board, but since he is a father for the first time at 48, he wants to spend more time with his family.

Margaret Gordon has served on the school board since 1998 and will run again for re-election, she said. As a Morgan County Board of Education member, Gordon said, "I love having the little impact we have."

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