Hancock commission seat up for grabs

WEIRTON – A seat on the Hancock County Commission will be the prize during Tuesday’s primary election in West Virginia.

Incumbent Danny Greathouse will face challenge Joe Barnabei for the office. Both are Democrats and residents of Weirton. No Republican has filed for the race, meaning Tuesday’s results will determine the election.

Greathouse, a retiree of Weirton Steel, has served as a member of the Hancock County Commission for the last 17 years. He also is the executive director of the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau and has worked for both former Governors Bob Wise and Joe Manchin.

“I’m seeking office to continue my belief that we must reinvent Hancock County,” Greathouse said. “Our mindset, our job opportunities must move forward. We must reinvent ourselves.”

Barnabei, a more than 39-year employee of ArcelorMittal Weirton, previously served 10 years on the Hancock County Board of Education, during which time he also spent one term as president and two years as a representative for the local Regional Education Service Agency.

“Serving on the board allowed me to successfully demonstrate my fiscal responsibility while exceeding in the management of the Hancock County Schools budget,” Barnabei said. “It also allowed me to prove my willingness to hear the public opinion, collaborate with tax payers and to demonstrate action and results in the form of positive change.”

Barnabei said he believes in accountability and transparency in government, noting he would be a voice for the people of Hancock County and make decisions on what would “make a positive impact on the entire community.”

If elected, Barnabei said he wants to develop a team effort to work with economic developers to create more opportunities for area residents, including with the developing oil and gas industry, all while maintaining existing jobs and businesses.

Greathouse said if he is re-elected, he wants to focus on the redevelopment of the unused ArcelorMittal property as well as work to find a way to stop the “ghastly drug epidemic that plagues us.”

He also plans to continue working with the other commissioners to practice fiscal responsibility, which he noted has allowed the county to save $13 million in recent years.

Greathouse also notes the commission’s efforts to start a $7 million capital project, which will include a new 911/emergency services center; a new magistrate office, new health department offices and upgrades to the county courthouse. Other work has included more than $20 million in water and sewer projects in the county, the purchase and demolition of the former Taylor, Smith and Taylor property in Chester.

During his time on the school board, Barnabei notes the reduction of the county’s excess levy by 10 percent and overseeing a $30 million budget with no tax increases, while also being able to provide employee bonuses. A new middle school also was constructed during that time.

Greathouse is married to Lisa Sirgusano-Greathouse. Their children are Tracey, David, Janae, Jordan and Richie, and grandchildren are Suzy and Lola.

Barnabei is married to Patti Giannetta-Barnabei. Their children are Andre, Bianca and Liana.