CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A delegation that’s historically been predominately Democrat is now three-fourths Republican.
Three of the four seats in West Virginia’s 48th District of the House of Delegates, comprised of Harrison County as well as one precinct in Taylor County, were won by Republicans Tuesday — Ben Queen, Danny Hamrick and Terry Waxman.
House Minority Leader Tim Miley, who has served District 48 since 2004, is now the sole Democrat in the district. This is quite a pivot from only a decade ago — when Miley was one of four Democrats who solely ran the district from 2004 to 2012.
Miley, Sam Cann, Ron Fragale and Richard Iaquinta ran opposed each election year but still came out undefeated — until Danny Hamrick’s victory in 2012.
“I’m happy the voters of Harrison County decided to send three Republican delegates with Ben Queen, Terry Waxman and myself back to Charleston. I don’t know the last time that may have happened. It may have never happened since at least the 1920s,” Hamrick said following the election results Tuesday night.
“It is exciting,” he added. “I think that will help us build on the momentum, and we’ll have a strong team working in Charleston, of course in a bipartisian manner working with Delegate Miley as well.”
Waxman first ran for office two years later in 2014. Despite losing her bid for re-election in 2016, she felt it was vital to run again this year in hopes of offering her best to West Virginians.
“I worked very hard, and again I had so many wonderful people helping me. I just am grateful beyond expression,” she said.
Her top priority among her goals for the two years ahead will be working on the economy.
“We really need to do the tax reform to finish a strong foundation for our businesses to grow in West Virginia and hopefully invite all of the many West Virginians that have left the state for a better job to be able to come home because we’ll have better jobs available here. I look forward to getting government right for the people of West Virginia,” Waxman said.
Hamrick, who starts his fourth term in office this January, said he too is excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.
“I think the voters of West Virginia overall chose to continue the growth that we as the Republican party started over the last four years in the majority,” he said. “Overall I think it looks positive. We can continue to allow our economy to diversify, improve our education system and keep more of our young people in West Virginia in the future.”
Currently, Hamrick serves as the Vice Chair of Government Organization, which he assumes will continue with his new term.
In that position, he and the other committee members tackle government regulations and handle the way that occupational licensing is done in the state, which he said he’d like to see further addressed in his next term.
“We’re really overregulated and over licensed,” Hamrick said. “There’s a lot of professions in West Virginia that require certification or licensing that really don’t require our citizens to do anything but pay a fee and sign a piece of paper to the state just so they can get into a job. Those kind of barriers for entry into our state and for jobs in our state, I think, are something that are really hampering and need to work on.”
While Miley may be the only Democrat from the 48th District, Waxman is the only woman, giving her the opportunity to be a voice for other women in the district.
“I honestly think getting policy right is the most important thing, and right policies help everybody do well. I’m just really excited to have the opportunity,” she said. “I spent a long time looking at government, looking at economic policy, and I’m so excited to get back to Charleston and continue that effort.”
Calls to Miley and Harrison County Chair for the West Virginia GOP Diana Bartley were not immediately returned.