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Richard N. Talbott announces commission filing

January 24, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A former Berkeley County Planning Commissioner who has been praised for challenging the status quo during his tenure on the board announced his candidacy Thursday for the Berkeley County Commission.

Richard N. Talbott, 49, of 2818 Runnymeade Road, Gerrardstown, W.Va., filed as a Democrat.

"I'm inspired (to run) by the lack of attention being given to the public," Talbott said in a brief interview. "I'm going to run as a citizen."

Talbott readily admitted he wasn't very "politically correct" and could only promise that he wouldn't be the typical county commissioner.

"This county - it's a runaway train right now," Talbott said.

Talbott said ethics and "open-door government" are primary issues in his campaign, which he vowed would be done the "old-fashioned way."

Talbott served 20 years in the military, with 16 as a member of the Air National Guard. He operates a beef cattle farm and aerial photography business and lives with his wife, Christie, and their two sons, ages 15 and 17.

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Talbott is the second Democrat to file for County Commission. He joins Anthony J. "Tony" Petrucci in seeking the party's nomination in the May 13 primary.

Petrucci and incumbent County Commission President Steven C. Teufel, both of Martinsburg filed last week. Teufel, a Republican, is seeking a second, six-year term.

In September 2007, Talbott was lauded by a group of northern Berkeley County residents for often being the lone vote against development projects that had met the county's requirements.

Talbott often justified his vote by citing governing code that indicated project approvals be based on residents' "health, safety and welfare," but county ordinance failed to define the phrase.

That justification now is part of a case pending in Berkeley County Circuit Court that involves a proposed residential subdivision in northern Berkeley County that the current planning commission denied because of safety concerns. Attorneys for the developer and the county have said the project, Waterfall Farm Estates, meets county requirements.

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