Willis enters US Senate race

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. — Another person has announced he is interested in serving in the U.S. Senate.

Maj. Tom Willis said in a video Wednesday he will run as a Republican in the 2018 midterm election in hopes of getting the opportunity to challenge Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., in November.

“One of the critical issues that we have in West Virginia is that people have put their faith in government,” he said. “The problem is government is not a god that can serve. Government has a vital and important function, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of family. It shouldn’t come at the expense of faith.”

Willis said in the video his platform includes fixing health care, maintaining low taxes and protecting coal jobs.

Willis is a co-owner of the Glen Ferris Inn hotel and restaurant in Fayette County. He also is on reserve status with the West Virginia Air National Guard.

Willis enters a Republican race already underway; U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey have been attacking each other since they launched their campaigns last summer. Former coal miner Bo Copley announced his campaign in May, and former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship launched his bid in November. Blankenship began by going after the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration’s handling of the 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine Explosion which killed 29 miners.

Manchin faces activist Paula Jean Swearengin in the Democratic primary.

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