‘WV Can’t Wait’ for changes in campaign financing | Journal-news

Fay Stump


I am a registered Independent and had never volunteered or donated to a political campaign. However, the amount of money needed to run for office and how that money is raised has increasingly concerned me. I question why politicians would donate huge sums to their own campaigns. I fear that corruption begins when those running for office accept sizable donations from corporations, political action groups, nonprofits, and individuals. Do donors desire an ambassadorship or other prestigious post? Will the donor’s company benefit from a contract or legislation passed? Once in office, will money a candidate invested in a campaign be returned with a huge profit?

When my daughter told me about Stephen Smith and the way he was organizing his campaign and encouraging others to share his principles, I was intrigued. With some neighbors, I co-hosted a town hall at our home and witnessed the sincerity, positivity and enthusiasm he greeted everyone attending-regardless of their party affiliation. I became one of many volunteers helping Stephen to run a campaign for less money by sharing their time, talents, and postage stamps. We offer temporary “bed and breakfast” homes as he and his staff drive around the state getting to know who we are and what we care about. And my husband and I donated to his campaign.

The Martinsburg Journal reported on April 11 that Governor Justice has loaned his campaign $1 million. Former Commerce Department secretary Woody Thrasher loaned his campaign $2.6 million. Former House of Delegates member Mike Folk has $92,100 in loans to his campaign, and Kanawha County Commissioner Ben Salango loaned his campaign $500,000.

Stephen Smith continues to out-raise his competition with donations of less than $250 from people like me. How has he done this? The old-fashioned way. Town halls, phone calls, knocking on doors, and soliciting many volunteers who believe in him. His campaign has no loans or donations from corporations, nor is he self-funding his campaign.

Yesterday, I was surprised during a pandemic online “house party” that a good friend had not heard of Stephen Smith. You likely will not see many expensive TV ads, but I encourage you to get to know Stephen by visiting wvcantwait.com. The way Stephen is running his campaign is NOT the only reason he will have my vote. If you have questions, email him. Stephen looks forward to one on one phone conversations with citizens from around the state. He is open to hearing from all, regardless of party affiliation, and will make time for you.

You should have received your application form for an absentee ballot this week. If you are an independent, consider requesting a Democratic ballot when you complete your absentee ballot application, so you can vote for Stephen in the primary. If you have a party affiliation, learn more about Stephen so you can consider why WV can’t wait for more candidates like him to work for us.

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