The Republican nominee for the Doddridge County Commission wants to bring fiscal responsibility to the job, while his Democratic opponent seeks to unify the county on divisive issues. The race for commission pits GOP candidate Gregory Robinson against Democrat Timothy Bowen. Both candidates spoke to The Exponent Telegram about funding for the Doddridge County Ambulance Authority, oil and gas drilling in the county and infrastructure along U.S. 50.
Robinson is running on a platform of fiscal responsibility. He feels his background in accounting, bookkeeping and tax preparation would be an asset to the position. One area Robinson would look at is funding for the Doddridge County Ambulance Authority. The County Commission established the Ambulance Authority as the primary emergency services provider after concerns were raised regarding the Doddridge EMS."The Ambulance Authority was formed by a prior County Commission that did not look into all possibilities," Robinson said."They were unwilling to work with the Doddridge County EMS and, therefore, we now have duplicate services.It is obviously some people’s opinion that the Ambulance Authority was needed, but my opinion differs in that we could have made necessary improvements at a much cheaper cost" he added. Now the commission has granted Ambulance Authority employees the same $1,200 bonuses that other county employees received — something Robinson believes should have come out of the agency’s funds.“I see both sides of that story,” Robinson said.“They are county employees. However, they don't follow the same rules as other agencies in the county, and the Ambulance Authority manages those employees and generates funds.”
Bowen, a retired regional jail administrator, said he wishes cooler heads would have prevailed when the issue of Doddridge EMS first arose.“Now we've got two (ambulance services) and we're left trying to figure out what to do now,” said Bowen, who currently works for a contract medical company that he contracted with when he was a regional jail employee. If elected, Bowen said he would weigh the arguments of both sides before making a decision.“I want the quickest care possible for our people,” Bowen said.“ The closest hospital (United Hospital Center) is another 15 minutes away from where it used to be. “We want people on board who can do what needs to be done to save our county people’s lives,” he added. As for the bonuses, Bowen said he is not going to “armchair quarterback” another commission’s decision. (ed. In other word's build on the mistakes of the last administration) What Bowen would like to quarterback is a drive toward a more unified county and government.“This county’s split on several issues, and it’s a pretty bitter split,” he said.“I’d like to bring people back together.” Robinson and Bowen said they support the growth of oil and gas exploration in the county, provided landowners’ concerns are taken into account. “I see both sides of the issue,” Robinson said. “Oil and gas companies want to drill. Many landowners who do not own the mineral rights do not want wells drilled on their property, and I understand that.“It would seem to me that if the oil and gas companies and landowners would sit down and talk instead of trying to impose their will, that would be the best situation for everybody,” Robinson said. Bowen said he’s not against drilling “as long as they are not destroying our environment and landowners are happy they’re getting compensation for the drilling.” But Bowen would like to build on the oil and gas boom by extending water service along the U.S. 50 corridor to attract other businesses.“Right now, we’re booming in oil and gas, but we don’t have anything there except the wells,” he said.“I’m talking about running water along the Route 50 corridor for development.”
by Jim Davis The Exponent Telegram