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Huntington mayor Williams announces bid for U.S. House seat


The Herald-Dispatch

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Huntington Mayor Steve Williams announced Tuesday night his intention to file as a candidate for the U.S. House representing West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

Williams, a Democrat, said he intended to file Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission for the district that encompasses 18 counties in southern West Virginia.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams intends to file as a candidate for the U.S. House representing West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.

“I want to fight every single day for southern West Virginia and champion the cause of the people of southern West Virginia the way that I have championed the cause of the people of Huntington these last years,” Williams said.

Williams is in the first year of his second term as mayor of Huntington. He also served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1987-94, and he was Huntington city manager from 1984-85. Williams was a member of the Huntington City Council from 2009 until 2012, when he was elected mayor.

Williams enters an already crowded field of candidates following announcements from West Virginia Sen. Richard Ojeda, from Logan County, and Tri-State Transit Authority CEO Paul Davis, of Cabell County. Both have also declared their intentions of seeking the Democrat nomination.

Dr. Ayne Amjad, a physician from Beckley, has also announced her candidacy for West Virginia’s 3rd District congressional seat, but has yet to file, according to the Beckley Register-Herald.

West Virginia Del. Rupie Phillips, of Logan County, and Rick Snuffer, of Raleigh County, both Republicans, are vying for their party’s nomination.

The current seat holder, U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, a Republican of Huntington, announced in May he would not be seeking re-election for this seat and instead would pursue a run for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Joe Manchin.

West Virginia’s third congressional district includes Boone, Cabell, Fayette, Greenbrier, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Mingo, Monroe, Nicholas, Pocahontas, Raleigh, Summers, Wayne, Webster and Wyoming counties.

Williams said he hoped to run the third district the same way he has run the city of Huntington, with everyone working together for the advancement and improvement of his or her city, county, district and state.

“By working together we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal in Huntington,” Williams said in a Tuesday night news release. “When we set our mind to it, West Virginians can compete with anyone — whether it’s around the corner or around the globe. I want to bring that mindset and that vision to every community in the Third District and throughout West Virginia.”

In an interview with the Herald-Dispatch Tuesday night, Williams said the state of West Virginia as well as the city of Huntington are used to being last, citing a recent CNBC report that said West Virginia was last in the country in business as well as other statistics which named Huntington the most obese, the unhealthiest and the most unhappy.

While these statistics are unsettling, Williams said they were never met with fear.

“We didn’t argue about it, we just rolled up our sleeves, went to work, working together and we found a way that all of a sudden within five years we were named America’s Best Community and won $3 million,” he said.

“Congress is broken,” Williams said in a release. “Our economic and national security interests are threatened by politicians who care more about their political party than about doing what’s best for our people. America can’t afford that approach any longer. West Virginia certainly can’t.”

During his time as mayor, Williams has earned national recognition for efforts to combat drug abuse and opioid addiction through his Ofce of Drug Control Policy, which focuses on addressing drug trafcking and drug related crimes while promoting treatment and prevention programs for people suffering from addiction. Last year, in recognition of his efforts, Williams was appointed to a joint task force by the National League of Cities and National Association of Counties to address the opioid crisis.

He is also pursing a number of lofty plans aimed at improving the city. These plans, known as the Huntington Innovation Project, were part of the America’s Best Community competition. In April, Huntington was announced as the winner of this competition, beating out more than 350 cities nationwide and winning the grand prize of $3 million.

While the initiates outlined in the project are far from complete, Williams said he is positive that his campaign will not slow down their progress.

“If I thought for a moment that it would slow down our progress I wouldn’t even consider filing for the Third District, but I’m convinced that this won’t interfere, this will actually enhance our ability to see that each of these projects will be advanced and we will see them to fruition,” he said.

If Williams is elected, Huntington City Council will be tasked with appointing someone to fill his position, according to the city’s charter. The charter further states that council cannot choose a member of council to fill the vacancy.

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