Kanawha pastor named to House of Delegates seat

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The newest member of West Virginia’s House of Delegates is pastor of a large Kanawha Valley church.

Gov. Jim Justice named appointed T. Kevan Bartlett of Sissonville to the West Virginia House of Delegates representing the 39th District.

Kevin Bartlett

Bartlett, senior pastor of Maranatha Baptist Church, fills the vacancy created by the recent death of Delegate Sharon Lewis ​Malcolm, a Republican.

Justice selected among three candidates passed along by the Kanawha GOP Executive Committee. Besides Bartlett, the other candidates were Ryan Lemmon and Vaughn Sizemore.

Lawmakers who are named to fill  open seats often experience an edge in name recognition over challengers in subsequent elections.

Lemmon had already filed to run for the seat in the coming election. Another announced candidate, Dana Ferrell, ran for the seat as an independent two years ago but is running as a Republican this time.

Malcolm, 72, had represented House District 39, which spans the Sissonville, Mink Shoals and Cross Lanes areas, since early 2018.

Malcolm was first named to fill the unexpired term of longtime Delegate Ron Walters after he resigned.

Malcolm then won won the 2018 General Election with 2,436 votes. Democrat David Holmes, who is registered to run again, got 2,022 and Ferrell got 1,315.

Bartlett became senior pastor at Maranatha in 2008.  The prior 24 years he served as associate pastor alongside his father, Bill Bartlett.

His wife, Linda, directs the women’s ministries and the nursery. They have two sons and eight grandchildren.