Republican, Democratic Kanawha County Commission nominees lay out what their next plans are following Primary Election wins

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Both Republican and Democratic winning nominees for the Kanawha County Commission say they plan to keep their campaign clean and positive until they face off against one another in November’s General Election.

Winning Republican candidate for the commission and former state senator Chris Walters joined the other winning candidate for the seat in the Democratic Party, as well as former Secretary of State, Natalie Tennant on 580 Live with Dave Allen Wednesday morning following their Tuesday night success during the Primary Election.

Walters said it’s a risk to run for any office and he couldn’t do it without the support he’s gotten from his family.

Chris Walters

“Anybody who puts their name on the ballot, they’re opening themselves to scrutiny, to negative ads as everyone has seen, and you know, that doesn’t just affect the candidate, it affects families as well, and having that support at home is just amazing and invaluable to me,” Walters said on 580 Live Wednesday.

He won against the other Republican candidate vying for a seat on the commission Dewayne Duncan.

Tennant vastly outnumbered longtime Kanawha County Commissioner and Democrat Kent Carper in votes who had also recently announced his retirement following a battle with ongoing health issues and allegations of misconduct. While he announced he would not be continuing his race for re-election, his name was still on the ballot.

Tennant said she felt a vibe from constituents early on, even before she announced she would be running for a spot on the Kanawha County Commission that they wanted to see some new energy in that role.

“I felt it early on and I just kept going and going and you know, listening to people,” she said.

Tennant said after being involved in a number of campaigns over the years, this one hit just a little bit differently because of all of the controversy surrounding her democratic opponent.

She said while she could have focused on that controversy and use it to get ahead in the race, much like other candidates did among other races, Tennant said she chose to take the high road as she didn’t feel a need to focus on the negative attention.

“I respect his family too much, you have to respect the position, too, and that’s just the way I felt about it that we didn’t need to do this, that there were enough questions, people brought it up to me, I didn’t have to say anything,” Tennant said.

She said her focus will be more on the positive, and showing people what her ideas for the county are during the lead-up to the next election in November.

Natalie Tennant

But until then, the county commissioners will have get to work finding an immediate replacement for Carper, and Tennant said she plans to apply to become one of those potential replacements as well.

Tennant said she feels it’s crucial for her to take the open position as soon as possible, because she said there are residents currently who desperately need the help she plans to provide as commissioner.

“I want to be County Commissioner today, let’s get at it, let’s get started,” said Tennant. “I have ten miles up in Dutch Ridge that need waterlines, they are living out of a cistern, and if it doesn’t rain they don’t have water and if they don’t have water they have to go get their truck and all these big tanks, doesn’t that sound like a third-world country? That’s in Kanawha County.”

Walters said he also has big plans in store to improve the current state of all of Kanawha County, particularly on an economic front.

He said he feels his experience as a legislature and in finances is a valuable asset when it comes to stepping in as the replacement for someone who has served on the commission for 28 years.

“You know, I was Vice Chair of Finances in the Senate, oversaw the finances of the whole state of West Virginia, so coming into the county, being able to comb through the budget, find ways we can save money and return that money to the tax payers, we really have to have the onus that this is not our money, this is the tax payer’s money,” he said.

Walters said he wants to build Kanawha County’s economy by continuing to invest in projects that would see an immediate return, like what the Shawnee Sports Complex has seen in Dunbar, or what Charleston’s new Capital Sports Center is projected to bring.

He said being the capital region of the state, there is so much potential for Kanawha County. Along with the many ideas he has for the area, Walters said he also wants to listen to what constituents have to say on ways of improving the place they call home.

“We have a beautiful area, we have a great river, and we just don’t utilize it enough,” Walters said. “There’s a lot more we can do to improve Kanawha County and I hope to do that and with your help, I want to hear your ideas and what you think we can do.”

Walters said he also plans to better connect the municipalities in the county to work together to resolve what needs to get done.

Once the election is certified on May 20, the current county commissioners will start working to find Carpers’ temporary replacement.