CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Delegate Patsy Trecost (D, Harrison – 48) will challenge incumbent Secretary of State Natalie Tennant for the Democratic party’s nomination for Secretary of State in 2016.
The former Clarksburg City Councilman and Mayor said he believes that the Secretary of State position is one he is uniquely qualified for after seeing local elections up close for years.
“It’s been a blessing for me to serve as a councilman, mayor, and now a legislator,” Trecost said. “And I felt I could even take that one step forward. And while the Secretary of State’s Office is the smallest branch here at the Capitol, it still plays a significant role in what we can do to promote West Virginia.”
Trecost said his run is predicated on his desire to be Secretary of State, rather than using the position as a stepping-stone. When asked if he was “pledging” not to run for higher office if he is elected, he stopped short of guaranteeing that.
“What’s most important to me is that I get around the state as much as possible and be present and let people know that I am genuine and that I do want to be Secretary of State,” he said. “That is my intent. I do not want to be Secretary of State as a stepping stone to another office. I want to be Secretary of State so I can learn the position.”
Trecost said he is worried that younger voters no longer believe the American Dream exists–and he wants to play a part in changing that.
“I saw a survey that 73 percent of people between the age of 18 and 25 across the nation no longer believe in the American Dream,” he said. “And I thought from the Secretary State’s Office, if I could get from county-to-county, and work hard and encourage them and be an example that they do matter–and I thought what I great opportunity for me to be able to serve all people equally.”
“This will be a great chance for me to encourage our youth; one to register to vote so that they know that their vote does matter, that their opinion is encouraged, and that their voice will be heard,” he said.
He also expressed his desire to promote the interests of voters in the entire state as opposed to the constituents of one area.
“It’s important that they get involved,” he said. “And I thought from the Secretary of State’s Office, I could promote West Virginia and government as a whole.”
Trecost believes open government is the key to being an effective Secretary of State, and he plans to make that part of his primary challenge against Tennant.
“I look forward to the opportunity to represent West Virginia in a positive way with open government, with communication lines wide open, where we do not necessarily work above you but we walk along side one another to figure out the questions that you have and we have and we find an answer,” he said. “That there is accountability here in Charleston.”
Trecost will hold a press conference on Thursday in the Governor’s Conference Room.
Voters first elected Natalie Tennant to the Secretary of State’s Office in 2008. She won re-election in 2012. In both general elections for Secretary of State, she has never captured less than 62.4 percent of the vote.
The primary election is in May.