CHARLESTON, W.Va. –Longtime state Senator Ron Stollings, D-Boone, is running for governor.
Stollings filed pre-candidacy papers Monday at the Secretary of State’s Office to seek the Democratic Party’s nomination in next year’s election.
Stollings, a medical doctor, said he would establish the Governor’s Office of Substance Abuse to focus on the impact of the opioid crisis.
“How do we know how much we should receive in settlement dollars if we don’t know how much prevention and treatment programs will cost? This should be an effort coordinated by the Governor, in the Governor’s Office,” Stollings said in a news release.
Stollings said, during an appearance Monday on MetroNews “Talkline,” the state will continue to struggle to move forward until the opioid crisis is brought under control.
“I do have potential input to right the ship here in West Virginia,” Stollings said. “I’m uniquely qualified with regard to the substance use disorder and its impact on businesses, the economy and the education system.”
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) September 23, 2019
Stollings, 64, a Boone County native, was first elected to the state Senate in 2006. He said his campaign will also focus on health care, expanding the economy and education. Stollings has been a proponent of redeveloping formerly mined property.
“We need to invest in infrastructure and site development,” he said. “We continue to lose generations because there aren’t as many jobs as there should be. We have to focus on jobs.”
Stollings called Gov. Jim Justice “a likable fella” but said he should spend more time at the state capitol. Stollings said he would if elected governor.
“I would be here, to be in that mansion, to be able to build relationships and to learn from people,” Stollings said. “I could see us having fireside chats from people that are experts in their field so we could use their knowledge to help fix things here in West Virginia.”
Democrat Stephen Smith has been on the campaign trail for several months. Stollings becomes the first Democrat to announce a run for governor since Senator Joe Manchin announced earlier this month that he would not return to the state and run for governor in 2020.