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Retired federal worker seeks seat in W.Va. House

March 06, 2006|by TRISH RUDDER

BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. - Gary Lee Nelson is one of six candidates running for the 51st House of Delegates seat in the West Virginia Legislature.

Nelson, 62, is a Democrat who lives in Berkeley Springs.

Veteran lawmaker Charles Trump said last year he would not seek re-election to represent the 51st District.

Nelson is a retired biologist and worked 34 years as a federal ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard Civil Engineering.

Nelson's campaign slogan is: "It is not about you, it is not about me, it is all about We!"

Nelson said residents need state laws to protect the land and the water, and zoning is needed in Morgan County.

"We need to start talking about these issues, and we need strong state laws that will allow the county to control growth with beneficial zoning laws," he said.

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Nelson said not enough has been done in this district and a statewide effort is needed. "We need changes," he said.

He said the candidates who are running for Morgan County Commission should discuss the zoning issue in the county. "If a candidate says 'we don't need zoning,' don't vote for them."

"People need to know what problems come without zoning laws," he said.

Nelson said there should be no state income tax on retirement income and no sales tax on food. He said the state should allow the homestead exemption for seniors of 60 and older to $65,000 a year.

"Many citizens have said to me that they can't afford to live in the county anymore." He said they will be forced to leave and "these people have lived here more than 30 years."

Nelson said all Morgan County tax dollars should remain in the county, "not just the 2 percent we receive back from Charleston.

"We need these funds to increase the quality of (the students') education in this county," he said.

Nelson and his wife moved to Berkeley Springs in 2002. He is active in organizations such as the W.Va. Aquaculture Assn., Morgan County Ecology Club, and the Morgan County Comprehensive Plan Revision Citizen Advisory Group.

Also running for the seat are Democrats Charles Downey Evert and Robert L. "Bob" Ford; and Republicans Abby Chapple, Daryl E. Cowles and George Sneathen.

The West Virginia primary is May 9. The general election is Nov. 8.

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