Art Kirkendoll, a former Logan County Commission member and president, soundly defeated Sammy Dalton 4,933 to 1,869 in the nomination for state senator in the 7th Senatorial District. Kirkendoll was appointed to fill the term vacated by longtime senator Earl Ray Tomblin, who became governor of West Virginia last year.
“Working with the governor for the next four years gives us an opportunity to have a team unlike anything they’ve ever had in southern West Virginia in recent years,” Kirkendoll said. “I want to be a strong voice for the people down here. There’s nobody going to work any harder than I will.”
Kirkendoll said coal is the biggest issue for the 7th Senatorial District. He said he hopes to be able to work together with Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin and U.S. Senator Joe Manchin to educate people across the country about the need for coal.
“We’re fighting a battle that’s tough,” Kirkendoll said. “We’re going to use coal for the next 30 years, but if we can’t mine it, we’re going to have to import it. When we do, they’ll have the supply and we’ll have the demand and your electric bills will go from $250 a month to $800. The American public is being duped with this. It’s up to people like me on the state level and the governor’s office getting in cohesive action with these governors in these other energy producing states in America. We have to form a team and say, ‘Look, let’s level the playing field and play fair.’ We’ve said before we want to be environmentally sound.”
Kirkendoll said he believes he has hit the ground running in the Senate.
“When I got there, I met with all the senators and told them I wanted to work with them,” Kirkendoll said. “I told them I would earn their respect and put it out there so that they would respect me. When I left there after the first session, they all wished me well and said they hoped I came back. I knew we could all work together — the north and the south.”
Kirkendoll thanked everyone for voting for him and sending him back to Charleston for a full term in the state Senate.
“I want to thank everybody. I had a lot of help in Logan, Boone, Mingo, Lincoln and Wayne,” Kirkendoll said. “I just want to say from a humble perspective thanks to everybody. I appreciate it. I’d love to shake everybody’s hands, but my thoughts are with you, thank you and God bless.”