CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — Patsy Trecost won the Democratic race for Harrison County Commission and will run uncontested this November, making him the defacto winner of a seat currently held by Bernie Fazzini.
The former Clarksburg Vice Mayor and House Delegate won with over 55 percent of the votes, a total of 3,837 out of the 6,893 who voted in the race. Fazzini tallied only 1,177 votes in the race, below former Delegate Ron Fragale who took 1,939 votes.
“I’m very happy and I’ve very humbled that so many people were willing to support me the way they did here throughout Harrison County,” Trecost told WAJR Wednesday morning.
Though Trecost was confident that he had a chance of winning, he did not expect to win by such a large margin.
“You know, I didn’t, and that just goes back to how much of a small part of the election I actually am because it was the whole county that got involved,” he said. “Everywhere I went, from one corner of the county to the next, people were so kind to me, and I hope I was kind back. I was treated so well on the campaign trail that sometimes I felt like I wasn’t even campaigning. I just felt like I was being a part of the community, and that’s what I want.”
In his term, Trecost said his priority is to always do what’s best for the people of Harrison County.
“My number one goal is to build confidence in the county that while the name plates may say ‘Patsy Trecost,’ the chair belongs to Harrison County,” he said. “It doesn’t belong to Harrison County individuals, it belongs to all of us. I want to serve and represent a commissioner that works for all the people equally.”
With his experience in both local and statewide government, Trecost not only feels prepared to take his seat on commission but believes that his experience will be a tremendous benefit to the county.
“The experience is definitely going to allow my learning curve to be much shorter, and because of my experience, I know that infrastructure is the key to growth,” he said. “The more we build roads, the more we develop water and sewer lines, the more housing we’re going to have, and then that just ties right back into jobs. If we can keep the economy here going well and if we can keep things moving with infrastructure, then we’re going to continue to grow here in Harrison County. That’ll not only be good for us but it’ll be good for the whole entire region.”
Once Trecost makes it past the General Election in November, he said he’s looking forward to working with Commissioner David Hinkle and Commission President Ron Watson to get things done.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an elected official or if you’re somebody at the convenience store getting gas. It’s very important to me that I listen to people and not speak at people because remember, a good idea can come from anywhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re out in front or in the back, if it makes things better for the citizens that live here then pay attention, listen and let’s go to work.”
The Harrison County Board of Education won’t see any changes, as all three incumbents were reelected to their seats. Frank Devono, Jr. led the race with 6,874 votes, about 26 percent of all votes cast.
“I’m very thankful and I’m very glad that the people of Harrison County believed that I could be their voice for education,” Devono told WAJR shortly after the results were in. “I’m thankful that the people of Harrison County saw fit to allow me to serve another term on the Board of Education.”
Devono ran a hard campaign ahead of Tuesday’s election and was glad to see his efforts paid off.
“I got out there, and I tried to make my message pretty distinct,” he said. “I tried to make sure that people knew that it was about the kids. It’s always been about the kids. It was about the kids four years ago when I ran, and it’s about the kids right now. That’s why I was running again.”
Education is immensely important, Devono said, which was demonstrated earlier this year in the nine day statewide teacher work stoppage.
“I want to make sure that we keep our kids educated so they can stay here and have good quality lives and that they don’t have to go too far away from home to get jobs,” he said.
This will be Devono’s second term on the Harrison County Board of Education, and he has many goals set to tackle in the next four years.
“I want to make sure that we focus on our facilities and look at our facilities plan to make sure that we’re using our dollars the best way that we can with the facilities that we have available,” he said. “I want to make sure that we can address some infrastructure needs that need addressing with some of the older buildings.”
He said he’d also like to see more projects in the statewide schools, and though those require funding, Devono hopes to use the board’s resources efficiently.
“We haven’t had a bond in over 20 years, so I think that’s pretty impressive, and I’d like to look at the possibility of continuing to do that, continuing to keep moving forward in that aspect,” he said.
Devono said he’d also like to see more focus on technology programs in Harrison County Schools with increased STEAM and STEM programs.
“That to me is a big important step moving forward because technology encompasses every day in our lives, and it surrounds us in everything that we do,” he said. “In order to be able to compete nationally and be on par with some of the other states and globally with some of the other countries, we need to have a strong foothold on technology. Increasing the STEM discipline and increasing the STEM exposure to our children is what’s going to help us get there.”
Incumbent Board of Education members Kristin Messenger and Michael Daughtery tallied close numbers in the race with 5,815 and 5,849 votes respectively.
Voter turnout in Harrison County was at 27.32 percent, higher than the statewide turnout of 25.89 percent. This year’s primary being the first election to be fully electronic, County Clerk Susan Thomas said things ran smoothly.
“It was a little rough start in the morning,” Thomas said. “We had a few issues, but the rest of the day went great. This was the earliest we’ve been done since I’ve been clerk. I’m very happy with the way things went.”