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Candidate for W.Va. governor stumps at GOP's annual picnic

July 20, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - As Republican gubernatorial candidate Russ Weeks tours West Virginia, he is seeking to share his positive plans if elected.

But Weeks said nearly everyone he meets wants to talk about the controversy surrounding Gov. Joe Manchin's daughter and the master's degree from West Virginia University that she supposedly didn't earn.

"I believe that issue is going to have an impact on voters, but I'm not sure to what degree," Weeks said.

Attending the Berkeley County Republican Club's annual picnic Saturday at Poor House Farm Park, Weeks tried to focus attention on several key issues instead.


Tax reform, education and the state's highways will be high on Weeks' agenda. He also said he plans to launch an audit of state agencies and their contracts if he is elected governor, bringing accountability back to government.

"You know, I didn't get into politics until I was 59," Weeks said. A resident of Beckley, W.Va., Weeks now is 66, and said he is anxious to begin taking West Virginia into positive territory for the future.

One of the first things Weeks will do if elected involves all of the highway signs in the state that currently bear Manchin's name.

"I plan to put the Department of Highways name on those signs instead," Weeks said, saying the money spent to replace those signs when a new governor assumes office could be better spent.

Despite the heat and unrelenting sun Saturday afternoon, Weeks roamed through the park barn and outside in order to speak with everyone he could.

More than 50 people attended the picnic.

"I have issues to advance," Weeks said. "And I want to work on restoring your faith and confidence in state government."

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