Elections, Latest News, West Virginia Legislature

Mike Oliverio announces run for state Senate; previously served 1995-2011

MORGANTOWN – Former state Sen. Mike Oliverio announced on Thursday his intention to seek office once again. The Morgantown Republican will seek the 13th District Senate seat.

Candidate filing runs through Saturday. As of Thursday afternoon, he faced one primary opponent, Carly Braun of Westover.

Oliverio served 18 years years in the Legislature as a Democrat: one term in the House of Delegates in 1993-94; he was then elected to the Senate, serving from 1995 to 2011. He ran for Congress in 2010, losing by less than a percentage point to the GOP candidate.

He changed parties to Republican in 2017 and challenged incumbent Democratic Sen. Bob Beach for the 13th District seat in the 2018 general.

“I thoroughly enjoyed serving in the Legislature,” he said. “It’s a challenging position, a lot of demands. But I enjoyed it and believe I was very successful for our community for a long time. I want an opportunity to go back and see if we can help the community advance.”

The 13th District spans eastern Monongalia and Marion counties, including Morgantown and Fairmont. Oliverio said it’s a growing, prosperous community with many needs and big infrastructure projects on the horizon. He wants to help move those projects along.

He mentioned the proposed expansion of the Morgantown Industrial Park and the proposed Harmony Grove exit that would link the park to I-79. “The Morgantown Industrial Park is really, I think, on the precipice of taking off. We could find ourselves with significant light manufacturing there.”

The exit would enhance economic development and keep truck traffic from running through Westover – sparing the roads there and enhancing public safety.

North of Harmony Grove, Exit 155 – bearing Oliverio’s father’s name – also needs upgrades. “I want it to be an intersection that’s safe, I want it to have good access. I want to be able to help Star City and Granville be able to take full advantage of that exit.”

Oliverio cited some of his successes during his time in Legislature: pushing to replace the two-lane Star City bridge with a five-lane bridge (his constant pressure led Division of Highways to ask him to push the button to drop the old bridge into the Monongahela River), getting a fifth lane on Patteson Drive, a third lane through Sabraton and a turning lane through parts of Westover, a DMV regional office in Sabraton, a new State Police Barracks in Star City and relocation of the DOH headquarters from its dilapidated home in Sabraton to a new HQ in Bridgeport.

WVU is in Morgantown, he said, and it would be good for higher education to have a member of the majority party in office looking out for it.

Oliverio was born in Marion County and is a longtime resident of Morgantown. He is a graduate of Morgantown High School and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from WVU.

At WVU, he was a member of the Army ROTC Cadet Corps, served as student body president, and following WVU, served as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.

He runs his own business as a financial advisor. He is a past president and current vice president of the Board of Directors for Senior Monongalians and was a recent volunteer basketball coach for Trinity Christian School.

Oliverio has been married to Melissa Oliverio for 25 years and they are parents of two children, Michael and Maggie, both current WVU students. They are active members of St. Mary Catholic Church in Star City.

The Democratic primary has two candidates so far: Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer and Rich Jacobs, both of Morgantown.

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