BY PHILLIP WILLIAMS
Some five candidates for Upshur County elective offices in the March 6 Republican primary, and a representative of a sixth, spoke to the Saturday afternoon quarterly meeting of the Lakewood Homeowners Association, formerly called the Glenwood Acres Landowners Assocation.
Counting the candidates, about 45 attended the event at the organization’s rural clubhouse.
Speaking on behalf of Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Wyone Manes, seeking re-election, Pct. 1 Constable Gene Dolle said she was not present because she was at her grandchild’s wedding. He said she has held jury trials, which “did not transpire at all before she got there” and that she had processed more than 2,600 traffic tickets.
Dolle said he had had about 30 nuisance hearings before Manes when “most judges don’t want to hear them.” He said Manes “has proven herself” and that attorneys and the district attorney’s office praise the way her court is run.
Her opponent, Russell Harris, did not attend.
All three candidates for county judge spoke. One of them, Upshur County Pct. 4 Commissioner Mike Spencer, said that when he took office seven years ago, “the county was in bad shape” and that “we made some hard cuts” and “stayed out of the newspapers.”
Spencer said 80 percent of the county judge’s post is an administrative position involving money.
One of his opponents, Larry B. Morse, said that “most citizens mention taxes” as a concern and that “I want to help bring down the county tax rate, but to do that, we’re gonna have to focus on economic development and growth.”
Morse said his past career in the oil and gas industry gave him knowledge on budgeting and problem-solving. He said the county should be “business-friendly” and that “the Upshur County judge can be the catalyst to help make this happen.”
The other candidate in the judge’s race, Todd Tefteller, praised his opponents as “two good guys,” and cited his 32 years’ experience practicing law in Gilmer. He noted he was board certified in his profession by the state, and said he had tried many criminal and civil cases.
“Don’t hold it (that he is an attorney) against me. I don’t like most lawyers myself,” Tefteller added.
A candidate for district clerk, Nicole Hernandez, noted she had formerly worked for three years in that office and was named chief deputy by her opponent, incumbent Karen Bunn (who was not present).
Hernandez said she enjoyed learning “all the different aspects of the job,” adding “Every day it was a challenge, and it’s like that’s where I was meant to be.” Now a paralegal to Gilmer atttorney Dwight Brannon, she pledged to work to fix “issues” with the software in the district clerk’s office.
County Clerk Terri Ross noted she has no opponent for re-election in the primary, but will have a Democratic opponent (Claudette Bennett) in November. Ross noted she has implemented taking credit cards in her office.
The county clerk also said deed records are being indexed, and will be available for viewing and purchasing online. She said her goal is to place guardianship and probate information online as well.
Sheriff Larry Webb, who is not up for election this year, also briefly addressed the group, inviting it to “Holler at me if anything goes wrong.”