By July 25, 2017 Read More →

Longtime Delegate Bill Hamilton to challenge for 11th District Senate seat held by Sen. Robert Karnes

By Amanda Hayes

The Record Delta

BUCKHANNON, W.VA. — After more than 14 years in the House of Delegates, Bill Hamilton has declaring his candidacy for a State Senate seat in the 11th District, which includes Upshur County.

Delegate Bill Hamilton

The seat is currently held by Sen. Robert Karnes, R-Upshur, who was elected to his first term in 2014. The 11th District of the State Senate also includes Grant, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph and Webster counties.

Since winning a House seat for the 45th District in 2002, Hamilton, R-Upshur, has campaigned almost non-stop because delegates serve two-year terms.  “It would be nice to have a break between the elections,” he said. “State Senate terms are four years. This is a good opportunity and a good time to do this.”

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Hamilton initially filed his pre-candidacy paperwork for the 2018 election in March, but he did not identify which seat he would seek. After discussing with family, friends and colleagues, he changed his undeclared status to State Senate District 11 at the end of May.

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The official filing period does not open until January, but Hamilton said there are two reasons for declaring his intentions early.

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“Several people have asked me because they are interested in the House seat, but they didn’t want to challenge me,” he said. “I think it was only fair that those folks have notice because they have to begin making their preparations.”

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“You shouldn’t wait until January to go ahead and get your committee together,” he added.  “I have to begin putting my committee together. I’m not well known in those other counties despite being a delegate for the last 14 ½ years. I haven’t even campaigned in the whole county of Upshur because Upshur County is divided between three delegates.”

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And despite initially filing as undeclared while he weighed his options, Hamilton said he will be steadfast in his intention to seek the State Senate seat.

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“I’m committed to this senate race,” he said. “That wouldn’t be fair for those who are making preparations for my House seat.”

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The State Senate will be a new endeavor for Hamilton, but one he feels he is ready for.
“I think we need experienced people,” he said. “This is my third year on the finance committee and I’m getting a pretty big handle on it.”

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Hamilton also serves on the energy, agriculture, pensions and retirement committees and is chair of the natural resources committee. He serves on the interim committees for parks, recreation and natural resources and the Joint Commission on Economic Development.
Hamilton said the legislature has tackled some high profile issues during his years in office, including medical malpractice form, tort reform, ethics reform, consumer protection, protecting children from child abuse, workers compensation reform, broadband expansion, the introduction of drug courts and making the Promise Scholarship available to every West Virginia student who chooses to participate.

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“We have made much progress in the last 14 ½ years, but we cannot rest on our accomplishments,” Hamilton said. “We must remain focused on our economy, working together to weather the economic downturn which is occurring here and everywhere else in our great nation. This year, 2017, and beyond will present more challenges, with budget deficits projected through 2022. I am committed to working on a bipartisan basis with other legislators to help struggling businesses get back on their feet, encouraging new business start-ups, and educating and training the workforce so our people can get back to work.

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“In order to reach these goals there is much work ahead in the future legislative sessions. It is imperative, especially during these times of economic downturn, that we maintain a level of experienced and capable representation within the State Senate. When it comes to decision making, I feel certain the knowledge I’ve gained throughout my tenure in the House of Delegates and the relationships of trust I’ve  earned with other legislatures will be very beneficial to the residents of Senate District 11.”

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If elected to the State Senate, Hamilton said he will continue to work for the betterment of the people and businesses of West Virginia.

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“As I have done in the past, I will treat the people and the office I hold with respect and remain fair and unbiased,” he said. “Keeping the residents of the 11th senatorial district informed and continually seeking their input on the issues is on my list of top priorities. I enjoy meeting with constituents, discussing the issues and working for the people in the Senate District 11 and throughout the state.

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“I believe we must actively work with the governor and other legislators to grow our economy and encourage our existing businesses to expand. Also, we must work diligently to recruit responsible businesses to locate here, businesses who realize the value of employees by paying fair wages and providing benefits; businesses that will treat the land and people of West Virginia with respect.”

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Turning around the economy will have broad benefits, Hamiton said.

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“When we have a good economy, more revenues will be available to dedicate to our infrastructure, our schools, teachers, school employees’ wages and pensions, senior citizens and many other much needed programs,” he said. “The simple fact is we need revenue to do this and revenue comes from a healthy economy.

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“I am honored to have had the privilege to serve the people of West Virginia as your delegate and ask you for your continued trust, support and vote in 2018 so I can represent you as your state senator and continue working for a better future for West Virginians. “

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