By RICHARD F. BELISLE
8:39 PM EDT, October 17, 2012
CHARLES TOWN, W.Va.
The newly renamed 65th Delegate District has four-year House veteran Tiffany Lawrence, the Democrat, trying to defend her seat in the West Virginia Legislature from Jill Upson, the Republican challenger and newcomer to Eastern Panhandle politics.
The 65th District, which until Jan. 1 will be called the 58th, represents the cities of Charles Town and Ranson.
Early voting for the Nov. 6 general election runs from Saturday, Oct. 14 through Nov. 3, including Saturday Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Lawrence, 30, was not available for a telephone or personal interview.
According to her campaign literature, she said she is “once again using her campaign to reach out to a broad base of Jefferson County residents, including those who have not previously been involved. West Virginians are just ordinary people that can do extraordinary things.”
Lawrence said she has worked to sponsor, co-sponsor and pass 39 bills into law. Echoing other House of Delegate candidates in Jefferson County, she said the Eastern Panhandle is in a clear position to lead the way on a variety of issues.
She has been an advocate for public education reform, health and wellness initiatives, child welfare, public safety and the eradication of substance abuse in West Virginia.
Lawrence serves on the House Education and Health and Human Resources committees and is vice chairwoman of the Committee on Political Subdivisions.
“My family has lived in Jefferson County for generations. I am a product of this county. One of my grandfathers was a farmer in Jefferson County and the other was a coal miner in Mineral County. Both of my parents grew up on farms, and as public school teachers, have instilled in me the importance of hard work,” she said.
Lawrence is a graduate of Jefferson High School and earned a bachelor of science degree from Shepherd University. She has a master’s of business administration from Shenandoah University.
She is the director of resource development and marketing for the United Way of the Eastern Panhandle.
She is married and the step-mother of two children.
Upson, who lists Charles Town as her address, was not available for comment and referred questions about her campaign to her website at www.upson4wv.com.
She said on the website that she is a mother, military wife, citizen and professional “who is committed to serving your district, state and county.” She stands for individual liberty, limited government, low taxes, adherence to the Constitution, fiscal responsibility and love of family, community and country.
Her website refers to her in the third person when it talks about her experiences dealing with the nation’s struggling economy.
“With the bursting of the financial bubble the retail chain she (Upson) worked for in Virginia was unable to sustain itself and all 130 of its locations were shuttered. This firsthand experience with a slumping economy places her in the company of many Jefferson County residents who have been hit by these difficult times.”
The website quotes Upson saying; “A vibrant and prosperous Jefferson County is very important to me. This means I will work to improve the business climate in our county which will ignite job growth. Too many of our citizens opt to drive to neighboring states to seek employment.
Upson is married to U.S. Navy Cmdr. Kevin Upson. She has a 22-year-old son.
Members of West Virginia’s House of Delegates earn $20,000 for the two-month legislative session.
According to an Associated Press report on campaign finances for West Virginia candidates, Upson loaned her campaign $20,000, more than any other House candidate in the state. Although Lawrence has raised slightly more than Upson, the Republican’s self-financing has given her a 3-1 edge over Lawrence, according to the AP report.
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