WEIRTON - A new face is entering the political arena this fall in the hopes of being elected to the House of Delegates.
Amanda M. Mesler, 29, of Weirton, has filed to run as an Independent candidate for the Nov. 2 general election. She is seeking a position to represent the 1st District in West Virginia's House of Delegates.
A registered Republican, Mesler explained she decided to run as an Independent candidate after initially not being able to make it onto the GOP ballot.
Mesler explained she spent a few years living away from the Ohio Valley, but returned to Weirton and found she wanted to find a way to get involved and give back to the community where she grew up.
"The community has invested a lot in me," she said. "I feel I have a duty to invest myself into it."
She is a 1998 graduate of Weirton Madonna High School and has a bachelor's degree from West Liberty University and a juris doctorate from Duquesne University School of Law. Mesler said she paid her own way through college, and commuted to school while remaining in Weirton.
She is a licensed attorney in West Virginia, with an office in Weirton.
Mesler also has been elected to serve on both the county and state Republican executive committees.
Mesler said she wants to work to make sure the Northern Panhandle is "funded and not forgotten," and hopes to be able to obtain grants for area projects and assist small business development.
She said she feels if the state and local communities work to promote a healthier business climate, then jobs will follow. One of the areas Mesler wants to look at is the possibility of reducing or eliminating the state's small business tax.
"We're situated in a prime area for development," Mesler said. "We can no longer sit by and speak only of our potential. It's now time to realize the opportunities that are so clearly within our grasp."
She said she would like to meet with area teachers and see what they feel is needed to improve the education system in West Virginia.
Mesler said she intends to run a clean campaign and will not make any promises to special interest groups or other organizations in order to get elected.
"I can only promise that I will work hard to represent the people of the 1st District," she said.
Mesler will face off against incumbent Del. Randy Swartzmiller and current Weirton Ward 1 Councilman Ron Jones in the November election.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)