West Virginia House of Representatives 11th Circuit: Meet the candidates


One race the people of the Mid-Ohio Valley will vote on in the midterm election is for a seat in the West Virginia state house in the 11th district.

Republican Bob Fehrenbacher is up against Democrat Harry Deitzler for the first time.

Fehrenbacher: “I understand what needs to be done on site.”

Deitzler: “I’m excited for the opportunity to bring these ideas to Charleston and try to make things better for our region and state.”

Democrat Harry Deitzler and Republican Bob Fehrenbacher, who are running for state legislature for West Virginia’s 11th Circuit, hope to serve and improve Wood County.

Both candidates say their experience makes them qualified for the seat.

Deitzler says he has worked with local government, law enforcement and charities for the past 46 years, helping to work with everyone, including those with opposing views.

“One of my qualifications is that I can work with people with different interests. And when you go to the legislature, not everyone will be like you. Not everyone will be like me. And I have to listen to what other people have to say. I have to work with people regardless of political party. It has nothing to do with it. I need to find out what they believe and how that aligns with what our people here in Wood County believe… and come up with laws that can help us all.”

Fehrenbacher says his 39+ years of experience as an entrepreneur and active member of the community will help him achieve his goals.

His main focus is on job creation. His other three priorities include education, infrastructure, and improving the health and lifestyle of West Virginians, all of whom he says work together.

“Sometimes a company comes into the state, but it needs infrastructure in the form of roads. Some of these infrastructure elements are things like broadband that can help with education. And honestly, a healthy lifestyle, being a part of the workforce, dealing with addiction, they all come together to help our people, our citizens want to live and work and raise families in West Virginia and the Mid-Ohio Valley.”

Deitzler said some of the main issues Wood County is facing are budget issues, inadequate internet service and keeping people in Wood County.

“I understand better than someone who wasn’t here what we have to deal with at the local level and how we can solve these problems and what we need from the legislature.”

Both candidates said they wanted to use the position to improve the area, to keep people here and see it grow, citing infrastructure improvements among other things.

Deitzler said that as a father and grandfather, one of the most important things he wants to achieve is keeping his children and grandchildren here in Wood County. He explained that he had to make it so they could get jobs and enjoy being here – like recreation. He gave examples of bike lanes, improved access to the river environment and youth sports.

“But to the extent that I can help make Vienna, Parkersburg, Wood County a place where people will come and say, ‘I love being here.’ I want to do that.”

Fehrenbacher said that in order to keep people in the area, it goes back to jobs and quality of life. He discussed local decisions to support infrastructure, giving the examples of Fort Boreman and Spencer’s landing in Vienna.

“Things like this, giving people not just jobs but a wonderful place to live and work and raise a family, I think are the things that not only keep people here, but frankly, draw others to West Virginia will. They will immigrate instead of sadly moving out, as has been the case for the past 25 years.”

We asked why someone who is still undecided should choose them.

Fehrenbacher said he had ideas and experience. He highlighted lessons learned from volunteering and his experience developing investment proposals, saying it helped him know what needed to be addressed.

Deitzler said he’s been here and understands what Wood County needs. “I have been involved in local government and have worked with the people who have been here in the past and are here now and I can communicate with all of them. Have been communicating with them for years.”

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