MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Monongalia County voters will decide in the Nov. 3 General Election if incumbent Monongalia County Commissioner Ed Hawkins receives another term or if Democratic challenger Jeff Arnett gets the nod.
Arnett said being a county commissioner has always been a goal for him. His great grandfather died in office as a Monongalia County commissioner in the 1940s. His great grandmother was appointed to finish the term.
Arnett is a lifelong Mon County resident with a degree in public relations from WVU, graduated from the WVU School of Law in 1999 and also passed the bar exam that year. For the last 20 years he has focused real estate law through his company, Arnett Legal Services.
“My background over the last 20 years of being a real estate attorney, I fully understand property values and areas in Monongalia County,” Arnett said recently on WAJR Radio’s ‘Talk of the Town.’ “I think I could be an asset to the commission in that regard for assessment appeals.”
According to Arnett, his thorough knowledge of Tax Increment Finance districts would be very valuable as work continues to start an economic development area in the vicinity of the Morgantown Municipal Airport.
“Property rights in Monongalia County and how they directly effect our economy and our development,” Arnett said. “I really have a strong concern to make those property rights and development rights are protected.”
Incumbent Republican Ed Hawkins is also a lifelong resident of Mon County and took office in 2015.
Hawkins worked for a small construction company before completing dental school at WVU. He worked for the Morgantown Dental Group for 40 years before retiring in 2014. He has served on the Camp Muffly board since 1988 and has been active in 4-H as a student, educator and leader. He has served on the MMPO, Metropolitan Theater Board, Mon County Fair Board, Monongalia County Historic Landmarks Commission and represents the commission on the Fireman Association and West Ridge Development. Currently, he is a member of Farm Bureau and president of the Historical Society.
Hawkins said the fiscal restraint he has shown through his time in office has been an important reason why Mon County has managed to navigate the pandemic with few problems. He said supporting students and helping them prepare for the future is very important to him.
“We have $250,000 has been allocated to work with our board of education for projects to benefit the students of our county,” Hawkins said. “We still wait for approval from the board on this.”
Hawkins used the development of WestRidge Corporate Park and WestRidge Crossing as examples of his principles put into practice. A New Menards is scheduled to open next spring, work is continuing on the Bass Pro Shop store and there is progress on a new interchange from I-79 near the Morgantown Industrial Park.
Hawkins said the commission members have been proactive in protecting personal information and other data managed by county agencies.
“We created a new IT building,” Hawkins said. “So, this is a complete back up for all the county office holders so no data is lost or compromised.”