Residence: Monongalia County
Education: Bachelor of Science, wildlife management; master’s, business management; graduate, USMC Command and Staff College; graduatem Defense Intelligence College; fellowship with Director National Security Agency.
Political and civic experience: Current commissioner of agriculture, Farm Bureau, Marine Corps League, American Legion.
Professional experience: Currently serve as the commissioner of agriculture for West Virginia, former state senator, farmer, formerly served in the United States Marine Corps retiring at Lt. Col.
Campaign statement: While serving as the commissioner of agriculture over the last three years, my team and I have worked to find efficiencies, as well as start new programs to benefit West Virginia agriculture. We are continually working towards helping veterans, eliminating oppressive regulations on our farmers, improving our environment and supporting growth within our agribusinesses. If re-elected, I look forward to continuing to lead improvements at the WVDA for a more prosperous West Virginia.
Top priorities: Continuing to promote agricultural education, expanding specialty crops while maintaining the ones we have, continuing to ensure a safe, affordable and abundant food supply.
Residence: Lesage, Cabell County
Education: Marshall University.
Political and civic experience: Not a professional politician, with no previous office. Previous activism to influence legislation for agriculture, gun rights and home school freedom.
Professional experience: Small farmer using regenerative practices as used by Joel Salatin. Army Reserves, with over 31 years of service and still serving as an officer.
Campaign statement: Small local farms supporting local communities using regenerative practices will provide quality, nutritious food which strengthens the local economy and improves food safety and security while providing more job opportunities.
Top priorities: Reduce the onerous bureaucracy for small farmers, restore consumer rights of access to foods such as farm fresh dairy, improve environment by reducing harmful toxins used in agriculture, reduce government spending in order to cut taxes, education in regenerative practices, reduce the bar to enter into the field of agriculture, improve market access of local fresh foods.
Education: Fairmont State University, Political Science; Spruce School of Real Estate; Andrew Young School of Public Policy.
Political and civic experience: 2011-present, West Virginia State Senate; 2001-10, West Virginia House of Delegates; 1998- 2008 Monongalia Planning Commission; former House of Delegates chair of Agriculture; Legislative Committee on Agriculture, 20 years; WVU Davis School of Agriculture Visitation Team; Southern Legislative Conference, Ag. Committee member; former Senate chair of Transportation; Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation; Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability; West Virginia Holocaust Education Commission; Marion County Historical Society.
Professional experience: Executive director of Garrett Community College Foundation, real estate, retail grocery supervisor, perishable meat commodities buyer.
Campaign statement: Life would be vastly different if not for agriculture. Agriculture is not simply plants and animals, but includes urban and rural development of water, food, fiber and even internet. While the foundation has been traditional farming applications rooted in our soil, agriculture offers a bounty of education and economic opportunities. Agriculture is not a single seed or idea, yet carefully planted and cultivated will grow a community. Let’s grow West Virginia together.
Top priorities: As your next commissioner of agriculture, I see farmers uniquely positioned to drive our economy forward and in turn our lifestyle choices. Our pandemic situation has shed a light on our national food supply and just how fragile it can be. We must nurture and foster new horizons within our West Virginia food supply and storage. As such, we should have a department which is responsive to the agricultural community; transparency and communication are crucial if we are to elevate sales and production.
William “JR” Keplinger
Education: Bachelor of Science from West Virginia University in resource management and economics from the School of Agriculture.
Political and civic experience: Elected Hardy County commissioner, served 18 years as well as being an elected board member of the West Virginia County Commissioners Association for 12 years during that time. Moorefield Lions Club member, 17 years; Fraternal Order of Eagles; Hardy County Rod & Gun Club; since 11 years of age, I have picked banjo with my family bluegrass band performing for numerous community benefits, and I am a member of the Moorefield Church of the Brethren.
Professional experience: I am a third generation farmer. I live on the family farm. We raise 700,000 broiler chickens per year and have 65 head of brood cows. Also, since 1991, I have operated a successful business that provides animal bedding for farm animals, called Keplinger Shavings.
Campaign statement: Agriculture is a bright spot in West Virginia’s economy. Even in these times of uncertainty in our international trade arenas, our agriculture can and will continue to benefit the citizens of our state. We are part of the bigger picture. We need to encourage all West Virginians to take a look at the advance technology that allows you to make a part-time or full-time income doing something you love to do. votekeplinger.com.
Top priorities: Food safety is of priority for the West Virginia Agriculture Department. Plant and animal health go hand-in-hand with the health of all citizens in our great state. We need to market West Virginia products! We need to allow the citizens to have the opportunity to purchase West Virginia products. By expanding agriculture technologies and increasing agriculture opportunities, the State of West Virginia will have a bigger, better, more stable economy.
Education: Graduated Tunnelton High School, B.A. Fairmont State University, M.A., physical education and administration from the University of Virginia.
Political and civic experience: While I was a teacher and administrator, I was elected to both the House of Delegates and the Senate in the West Virginia Legislature. I served as deputy commissioner of agriculture under Gus Douglass for five years.
Professional experience: I am presently retired. I have been an active beef and field crop farmer for years and participated in our local farmers’ markets. I have been a teacher, principal, coach and director of personnel in West Virginia’s public schools. I have served WVU and four WVU presidents in key positions, including as WVU government relations director for State Government and then as WVU associate provost and director of extension.
Campaign statement: I have focused on listening to voters across West Virginia, while using social media and small group meetings to communicate with constituents. Many have told me they respect my experience in small farming and my service in education, in state government and the West Virginia Legislature. I believe I am qualified for this office and would be very proud to serve.