Elections, Government

Governor of West Virginia


Mike Folk did not respond

Shelby-Jean Fitzhugh
(Journal Photo by Ron Agnir)

Shelby Jean Fitzhugh 

Age: 80 

Residence: Martinsburg 

Education: Sophia High School, 1959; accounting, Prince George’s Community College; real estate school.

Political and civic experience: None.

Professional experience: Tax preparer, four years; real estate agent; administrative assistant to chair of master’s program in social studies, benefits administrator, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

Campaign statement: I will listen to the suggestions and ideas of those who do the work. I will build highways so businesses can transport their goods. I will develop affordable spay and neuter clinics and make West Virginia a no-kill state. Together we can make West Virginia great again for individuals, families, workers, industries and tourists.

Top priorities: Tackling opioid addiction, restructuring the state child care system, more county vocational schools to retrain displaced workers, more computers and smartboards in K-12 schools and college classrooms.

Jim Justice headshot
Jim Justice

Jim Justice 

Age: 69 

Residence: Lewisburg

Education: Master’s of Business Administration, Marshall University.

Political and civic experience: Like President Donald J. Trump, I am not a politician. I’ve worked my entire life creating jobs, starting businesses and helping communities across West Virginia. God has blessed me, and I love West Virginia. I led the Mountain State Coal Classic Basketball Tournament to help raise scholarship dollars for kids, given Christmas gifts to thousands of children and helped communities across the state during horrific natural disasters.

Professional experience: Before being elected governor, I served as the president and CEO of 102 different companies and employed thousands of West Virginians. Before my election and during my time leading my family’s companies, I launched a massive expansion of multiple businesses, including significant coal reserve expansion, Christmas tree farms, cotton gins, turfgrass operations, golf courses, timber enhancement and land development projects.

Campaign statement: We’re turning West Virginia’s economy around, and we’re investing in our roads and schools. There is still work to be done, and I’m just getting started because I want jobs, opportunity and hope for all West Virginians. There are challenges ahead and more work to do, and I am focused every day on building on the successes we have achieved during my first term. I ask for your vote to serve as your governor.

Top priorities: Thanks to my leadership, the state’s economy is strong and growing stronger every day. We must continue to grow our economy, attract jobs, fix our roads and highways, address the drug crisis and recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic. I work every day to attract more people, more jobs and more opportunities to West Virginia.

Brooke Lunsford

Brooke Lunsford 

Age: 53  

Residence: Salt Rock 

Education: WVU Tech graduate, 1989, B.S. accounting; Insurance Schools of West Virginia; WW real estate schools, Realtor.

Political and civic experience:  Finra Series 6 and 63, past licensed member of The Rotary International, Paul Harris Fellow and past president; member of the chamber of commerce; past member of The Gideon’s International. 

Professional experience: I have 30 years in the insurance industry, which prepares me to handle the health insurance crisis, the rural hospital crisis and the long-term care needs of assisted living patients. I was involved in the fiber optic cable revolution and worked in 10 states. I work on projects today with the foremost experts in wireless and broadband. I can help West Virginia with that experience. 

Campaign statement: Restore the hope! This is the time for an experienced executive to step in and rescue West Virginia from last place. If you don’t see a problem, you can’t solve a problem. Health care, roads, population loss, education in gutter and, most of all, 7,150 kids need foster care! 

Top priorities: 7,150 foster kids, that’s my top priority. Marry education and foster care, so kids have safety and a warm place to live, and so teachers can get paid to mentor and save these kids.

Grow tourism to get rid of personal state income tax. Develop tiny homes and cabins. Build these to the national building code and start selling them in state, and we export them to other states. Build 100 homes in each county between $100,000-$190,000.

Charles R. Sheedy Sr. headshot
Charles R. Sheedy Sr.

Charles R. Sheedy Sr.

Age: 62 

Residence: Cameron, Marshall County 

Education: Communications, engineering tech, Point Park, Fairmont State, Mountain State.

Political and civic experience: Not a politician or businessman, retired common sense working man. Member of various civic organizations.  

Professional experience: Combat veteran, DOH administrator, retired with no outside interest. No certifications or licenses to maintain or business to operate. Maintained a budget within WVDOH and administered improvements to the roads within Marshall County.

Campaign statement: True lifelong Republican. Lower taxes; less government; fix, not waste money. Work for term limits for elected officials to end corruption. A full-time governor that will live in Charleston at the mansion.

Top priorities: Sweeping tax reforms to lower taxes for senior citizens and lower income. Tax exemptions for military. Smaller government and less regulations. Fix broken agencies and departments. Less waste of taxpayer dollars by government.

George Douglas Six 

Age: 61 

Residence: Wadestown 

Education: Bachelor’s degree, agricultural business management.

Political and civic experience: Never been a politician.

Professional experience: Lifetime of business and farming experiences. Thirty-two years of business experience in the real estate industry, surveying, engineering and aerial mapping. Eight years working in the finance industry, the poultry industry in Moorefield, Alma, Va., Timberville, Va., and Petersburg.

Campaign statement: No reply.

Top priorities: No reply.

H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher profile
H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher

H. Wood “Woody” Thrasher 

Age: 65 

Residence: Bridgeport

Education: Bachelor’s degree, civil engineering, West Virginia University, 1977.

Political and civic experience: Commerce secretary, 2017-2018; Harrison County Chamber of Commerce; West Virginia Chamber of Commerce; West Virginia University Hospital Board.

Professional experience: Started The Thrasher Group in 1983, current chairman of the board of The Thrasher Group.

Campaign statement: West Virginia is hurting and has been losing population at an alarming rate. We need broadband, school choice and better roads. We need more and better jobs. Most importantly, we need a full-time governor. We must protect the unborn and fight the drug epidemic. I’m a conservative who will protect our values. West Virginians can have the American dream and this is the West Virginia I will fight for.

Top priorities: West Virginia must diversify the economy for more and better jobs, stronger schools and infrastructure improvements, which includes broadband. Our drug crisis must be aggressively attacked on multiple fronts and our coal and gas industries need more support. Our constitution must lead the way and our conservative values must be protected.


Douglas Hughes and Ron Stollings did not respond.

Jody Murphy Headshot
Jody Murphy

Jody Murphy 

Age: 47 

Residence: Parkersburg 

Education: UCLA; University of Concord located at Athens, i.e. Concord College, Class of 1996.

Political and civic experience: None. 

Professional experience: Former director of Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce, Pleasants County CVB and official with the Pleasants County Development Authority. Founder and chairman for MOV Launchpad Initiative, a new business and entrepreneurship pitch context. Newspaper reporter for almost 15 years who covered government, education and business

Campaign statement: I want my children and my children’s [children] to live in West Virginia. I don’t want to go to Ohio or North Carolina to visit my grandchildren. To do that we need to recruit and retain residents and grow and diversify the economy. I can do that.

Top priorities: Recruit and retain residents. We need more taxpayers, not more taxes. Diversify the economy. I propose giving land away for industry and manufacturing. Provide opportunities for free post-secondary education.

Ben Salango  headshot
Ben Salango

Ben Salango 

Age: 46 

Residence: Charleston 

Education: Political science from West Virginia University, 1994; J.D., West Virginia University College of Law, 1998; Shady Spring High School , 1991.

Political and civic experience: Kanawha County commissioner.

Professional experience: Attorney, founding partner of Preston & Salango, PLLC; founder and owner, 304Tees.

Campaign statement: I’m a Kanawha County commissioner, attorney and small business owner. I’ve spent my career fighting for the little guy. As commissioner, I secured 12 weeks of paid family leave for workers, created union jobs, cleared the wait list for seniors who needed hot meals and built the Shawnee Sports Complex. I know how to get things done. It’s why I have the support of the AFL-CIO, firefighters, educators, sheriffs and labor unions across our state.

Top priorities: As governor, I will work to make health care affordable and accessible for West Virginians and protect our rural hospitals from bankruptcy. I will diversify the economy and strengthen our workforce by expanding vocational and technical training. My plans will actually fix and upgrade roads, and strengthen our public schools by reducing class sizes and give educators a raise in order to recruit and retain teachers and school service personnel.

Stephen Smith headshot
Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Age: 40

Residence:  Charleston

Education: I went to Holz Elementary in Charleston before my family moved to Texas. I graduated from Plano Senior High School, Harvard College (B.A.) and the London School of Economics (master’s). But the most important lessons I’ve learned came from fighting alongside working families. At age 21, I was arrested alongside cooks and janitors fighting for a living wage. We won that fight, and I’ve since spent my career fighting crooked politicians and corporate lobbyists. 

Political and civic experience:  I have worked with dozens of organizations — both as a staff person and volunteer: Cub Scouts, Coalfield Development Corporation, KISRA, Kanawha Public Library, T-ball assistant coach, West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. My political experience is mostly working behind the scenes, helping train more than 175 West Virginians who are under-represented in government to run for office. 

Professional experience: Most recently, I ran the West Virginia Healthy Kids and Families Coalition — a group that helped start 300 rural small businesses, after school programs and community health projects and won 27 policy victories at the Capitol (raising the minimum wage, expanding school breakfasts, child abuse prevention and more). That organization won statewide and national recognition for creating jobs, bringing millions to the state in economic activity and winning victories for West Virginia’s most vulnerable children. 

Campaign statement: We want a people’s government. Find the people who work the hardest and sacrifice the most — that’s whose side we’re on. We’re the only campaign that’s visited every county at least twice, holding 197 town halls; the only campaign with a unionized staff; the only campaign with a full policy platform (and how we pay for it), written by West Virginians. Read our plans at wvcantwait.com/platform-plans and help us make them better. 

Top priorities: My priority is to serve the people of West Virginia, not lobbyists. We’re the only campaign that rejects corporate PAC money, and the only one that supports caps on drug prices, a corporate crime and political corruption division in the state police, an end to election buying, full cannabis legalization, $150 million in tax breaks for small businesses, the broadband middle mile and teacher raises. That’s also why we’re winning in the polls and fundraising. www.wvcantwait.com.