CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. —Editor’s note: This is another in a series of Eastern Panhandle candidate previews that The Herald-Mail has run over the last several months. The announcements also will be posted on our website, www. herald-mail.com, through the West Virginia primary on May 8.
Political newcomer and Jefferson County business owner Richard “Rick” Shuman II will give Democratic voters a choice in their May 8 primary for the 65th House of Delegates District between himself and two-term incumbent Tiffany Lawrence.
The new 65th District, currently the 58th until the end of this year, will cover all of the municipalities of Ranson and Charles Town beginning in January.
Shuman, 50, of Spy Glass Hill Drive in Charles Town, owns B&R Investments LLC, and retains his contractor’s and real estate licenses.
He said his campaign will focus on education, elder care and economic development.
In his campaign news release, he said West Virginia has to make sure it is giving its best for children and the older population. “We need to cut costs while providing better services and this can be done,” he said.
As for education, Shuman said the state is in a “serious struggle. We need to be prepared to make large changes to the entire system. Our property owners are taxed at higher rates every year.”
He supports charter schools, tax breaks for parents who homeschool their children and for those who send their children to nonsecular private schools.
On elder care, Shuman said the system in West Virginia is “in a crisis. Medicare and Medicaid costs are skyrocketing fueled by out-of-control billing by pill companies, hospitals and some of our trusted physicians. The national average cost for a year in a nursing home is $77,000. In West Virginia it’s $88,000, yet most of our nursing homes are rated two or below on a scale of five by Medicaid, making them ineligible for federal funds.”
Shuman said economic development in Jefferson County will be enhanced with four-lane access into the county from Virginia, but it must be done now “while we can still control growth.”
“I feel tax breaks to switch vehicles to natural gas makes perfect sense, helps us to move further away from oil and takes nothing away from our coal companies,” he said.
Shuman said he is a proud Mountaineer. “I want to serve this great state. I promise to work for the people of Jefferson County 24 hours a day 365 days a year. I am in a position in life where I can devote all of my focus and energy on the voters.”