Mountain Party candidate Charlotte Pritt files to run for governor

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Just more than three months to go until the November General Election and, in West Virginia, the Mountain Party’s candidate for governor is making her official run.

Charlotte Pritt, a former Democrat and Kanawha County State Senator, submitted her candidacy papers with the Secretary of State’s Office Friday.

“My campaign has always been powered by the people,” Pritt told reporters at the state Capitol, comparing her campaign to that of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt), a former presidential candidate. “Like Bernie said, it’s not about me.”

Pritt, who defeated U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in the 1996 Primary Election for governor, is running for the position a third time.

She pledged to boost the state’s economy by reinvesting in West Virginia’s small business workers.

“We need to look at the budget and reallocate money in a fair and equitable way and we have not done that. We need to start doing that. The only way we’re going to do that is have a governor in the office whose going to present a friendly and small business, people of West Virginia oriented budget,” Pritt said.

There are three gubernatorial candidates running against Pritt. On Friday, she called herself “the real progressive” in the race against Democrat Jim Justice, Republican Bill Cole and Libertarian David Moran.

“The other three parties represent corporations. I represent people power and people centered governance,” she said.

That’s not to say Pritt doesn’t support big corporations. She said she will work with corporations that “want to be fair” with investing in West Virginia.

Among other key issues Pritt addressed Friday is the state’s drug epidemic, the importance of legalizing marijuana, ways to fix discrimination against race and religion in the Mountain State and the need for environmental education about West Virginia’s air and water problems following the 2014 chemical spill.

Pritt said she would work with communicates about how to address those issues, which she believes, begin with diversifying the state’s economy.

“It will be going into local communities and doing problem solving with those communities about what we can do,” she said. “I want them to help me identify what is needed in their community.”

As for this year’s presidential race, Pritt said she’ll be voting for Jill Stein of the Green Party because she supports free education and universal health care.