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McKinley, Cline vie for House seat

WHEELING — Rep. David B. McKinley sees a challenge this election cycle from Democrat Natalie Cline as the two Wheeling residents seek a two-year term in Congress.

¯ McKinley, a Republican, is seeking a sixth term in the U.S. House. After a tight race to win the seat in 2010, he has easily won re-election in each of the subsequent four contests.

McKinley, 73, is a civil engineer who founded his own firm, McKinley and Associates, based in Wheeling.

Prior to being elected to the House in 2010, he served in the West Virginia House of Delegates from 1980 through 1994. He also was chairman of the West Virginia Republican Party from 1990-94.

“During this challenging time we need someone who has a track record of working across party lines to deliver for West Virginia,” McKinley said.

“From protecting miner pensions to securing more funding to fight the opioid problem to ensuring West Virginia gets its fair share of COVID relief, I have fought for the people of West Virginia.”

McKinley said he is proud the Lugar Center has ranked him the 10th most bi-partisan out of 435 members of Congress.

He said the Lugar Center is “recognizing me for how we work across the aisle to get things done,” he said. “I will continue doing that.”

McKinley said his focus in Congress, if re-elected, will be on reducing America’s reliance on China and bringing manufacturing back, lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and protecting West Virginia energy jobs.

“The economic and public health crisis brought on by COVID-19 is the single biggest challenge America has faced in generations,” he said. “Defeating the virus and getting our economy back to where it was at the end of last year needs to be our priority.

“During my time representing you in Congress, we have consistently done what we said we would do. From helping veterans with VA claims to passing bipartisan legislation, our office has kept our promise to our constituents.”

¯ Cline is employed by a Washington, D.C.-based software firm, where she works as a computational linguist. She lives in Wheeling and works remotely.

The issues of available and affordable health care, establishing a more diverse jobs market and having job training alternatives in the state are important to her.

“In the next two years I want to see more West Virginians have access to health care. I want to see them not only to be able to get to a doctor in a timely manner, but also be able to afford those treatments.”

Cline said West Virginians deserve to have a jobs market that can withstand a decline in one industry.

“We should never find ourselves begging for jobs that cannot offer us a family wage pay,” she said. “We should never be in the position where too many people in our population are working two and three jobs to make ends meet.”

Cline also said she doesn’t want today’s youth to feel they must go to college and take on tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt to earn a living.

“I want to see where you can go to get a two-year degree for free,” she said. “I want to make sure we are offering additional STEM courses for free to high school students and recent high school graduates so they can start working at entry-level positions immediately after high school — or transfer those to college credits.”

“I’m in this race because I want to see my son Teddy’s generation have a better future,” the 39-year-old Cline said. “I’m invested in the community. We chose to move here, and I want to see him thrive.

“It’s at the point where we have to look at candidates, and see who is willing to stick their neck out and be somebody who is not in it for a political career. This is the first time I’ve run for political office. I’ve never had any aspirations to run for political office, and I’m running on principled grounds. … I’m in it for the people of West Virginia.”

(King can be contacted at jking@theintelligencer.net)

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