West Virginia House of Delegates 11th District: Meet the Candidates

(D) Harry Deitzler and (R) Bob Fehrenbacher
WTAP News @ 10
Published: Oct. 27, 2022 at 8:32 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) -

One race people in the Mid-Ohio Valley will be voting on in the Midterm election is for a seat in the West Virginia House of Delegates in the 11th District.

First time candidate Republican Bob Fehrenbacher is running against Democrat Harry Deitzler.

Deitzler: “I understand what has to be done locally.”

Fehrenbacher: “I’m energized about the opportunity to bring those ideas to Charleston and try to make things better for our area as well as the state.”

Running for the 11th district West Virginia House of Delegate Seat, Democrat Harry Deitzler and Republican Bob Fehrenbacher hope to serve and improve Wood County.

Both candidates say their experience leads them to be qualified to hold the seat.

Deitzler says he’s been working with the local government, law enforcement, and charities for the past 46 years, helping to work with everyone, even those with opposing views.

“One of my qualifications is that I can work with people who have diverse interests. And when you go to the legislature everybody’s not going to be the same as you. Not everybody is going to be the same as me. And I have to listen to what other people have to say. I have to work with people regardless of political party. That has nothing to do with it. I have to find out what they believe in and how that fits in with what our people here in Wood County believe in… and get to legislation that can help us all.”

Fehrenbacher says his over 39 years of experience as a business person and active community member will help him accomplish his goals.

His main focus being on creating jobs. His other three priorities include, education, infrastructure and improving West Virginians’ health and lifestyle, which he says all work together.

“Sometimes a business will come to the state, but they need infrastructure in the way of roads. Some of those infrastructure items are things like broadband which can help on education. And frankly, healthy lifestyles, workforce participation, dealing with substance use disorder, they go together to help our people, our citizens want to live and work and raise a family in West Virginia and the Mid- Ohio Valley.”

Deitzler said some of the main issues facing Wood County are budgetary issues, inadequate internet services, and keeping people in Wood County.

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

Both candidates said they want to use the position to better the area to help keep people here and see it grow, stating infrastructure improvements among other ideas.

Deitzler said that being a father and grandfather, one of the most important things he’d like to accomplish is to make it so that his children and grandchildren want to stay here in Wood county. He explained that to do that, he’d have to make it so they can get jobs and enjoy being here - like recreation. He gave the examples of bike trails, improved access to the river environment, and youth sports.

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

Fehrenbacher said that 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 Spencers landing in Vienna.

“So things like that to give people not only jobs, but a wonderful place to live and work and raise a family, I think, are those things that will not only keep people here, but frankly pull others into West Virginia. They’ll migrate in as opposed to unfortunately moving out which has been the pattern for 25 years.”

We asked why someone who is still undecided should vote for them.

Fehrenbacher said that he’s got both ideas and experience. He highlighted insights he’s gotten through his volunteerism, and experience in developing proposals for investments, saying it’s helped him know what needs to be addressed.

Deitzler said he’s been here and understands what Wood County needs. “I’ve been involved in local government and worked with the people that 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.”

Quick Facts:

Background:

Bob Fehrenbacher (R)Harry Deitzler (D)
- First time ever running for office.
- In manufacturing and business for over 39 years.
- Active in church and local organizations: board chair for United Way, board chair for WVA Manufacturers association, and currently executive committee member of the Wood County Development Authority.
- Spent the past 46 years involved in the community, local government, recreation, and charitable activities.
- Former Prosecuting Attorney for Wood County
- Worked with Wood County Commission (advising and budget), mayors, council people, and law enforcement.

Qualifications:

FehrenbacherDeitzler
- One of the things he thinks is great about WVA is that it’s a group of citizens that come together in the legislature for two months every year. He says he is one of those citizens.

“I have some ideas. I’ve identified some things that I think will help the people of West Virginia and specifically Wood County. And so I’m energized about the opportunity to bring those ideas to Charleston and try to make things better for our area as well as the state.”
He says he can work with everybody. As a prosecuting attorney. He’s worked with both political parties, and in law enforcement worked with all branches.

“... And when you go to the legislature everybody’s not going to be the same as you. Not everybody is going to be the same as me. And I have to listen to what other people have to say. I have to work with people regardless of political party. ….”

“It’s a combination of experience working in government but also being able to explain to other people who are going to help make the decision why this decision is important and how it’s going to affect us.”

Most important issues:

FehrenbacherDeitzler
- He said people are leaving West Virginia for a brighter future and jobs, it’s something that needs to be changed. WVA needs to be more attractive for expansion and job creation.

- He said he has four focused areas. (1)Creating jobs, either expanding existing businesses, or attracting new businesses to come to the state and create jobs. (2) Education. (3) Improving health and lifestyle of West Virginians. (4) Infrastructure.

“And some of those are related. Sometimes a business will come to the state, but they need infrastructure in the way of roads. Some of those infrastructure items are things like broadband which can help on education. And frankly, healthy lifestyles, workforce participation, dealing with substance use disorder, they go together to help our people, our citizens want to live and work and raise a family in West Virginia and the Mid- Ohio Valley.”
- He said it’s a combination of things. One is not having adequate internet service. This is important, he says, because so many people that want to live here need to have the ability to work from home and if they don’t have that they can’t get jobs.

- He continued saying the issues that are going to come up are budgetary. He brought up not having enough money to bring in and keep teachers and police officers.

Number One Goal:

FehrenbacherDeitzler
- Of the things he wants to focus on, job creation is the main priority.
- He says he can’t just say one goal, because unless he can get 50 other legislators to go along with him he won’t be able to accomplish anything. His goal is to find out where the other legislators stand and find where those priorities match with wood county and make them happen.

“We can get along and we can figure out what’s best for Wood County, for Vienna, for Parkersburg that we can make happen in reality as opposed to just talking about it, we’ll be able to make things happen.”

Three things to help voters

FehrenbacherDeitzler
- First, work with the local organization. He gave examples of the Wood County development authority, of which he is a member, as well as organizations like the economic development authority for the State and the legislature.

- Second, looking at the budget surplus. “So what can we do to provide tax relief to the taxpayers of WV?’’

- Third, some foundational elements that sweep together those other things, including infrastructure, education and improving the health and lifestyle of West Virginians.
- He said that with him being a father and grandfather, the most important thing he’d like to accomplish is to make it so that his children and grandchildren want to stay here and they want to live here and they’re happy to be here.

- To do that, he’d have to make it so they can get jobs and enjoy being here

- Improve recreation. He gave the examples of bike trails, improved access to river environment, and youth sports.

“But to the extent that I can help make Vienna, Parkersburg, Wood County A place that people come into and they say, ‘I love being here.’ That’s what I want to do.”

How to keep people in West Virginia:

FehrenbacherDeitzler
- He said it goes back to jobs and quality of life.

- He gave examples of local decisions to support infrastructure on Fort Boreman and Spencers Landing in Vienna.

“So things like that to give people not only jobs, but a wonderful place to live and work and raise a family, I think, are those things that will not only keep people here, but frankly pull others into West Virginia. They’ll migrate in as opposed to unfortunately moving out which has been the pattern for 25 years.”
- He reiterated increasing jobs and adding things to make living in the area enjoyable.

- He gave examples of recreational activities and groups.

Why should you vote for them:

FehrenbacherDeitzler
Well first of all, I’ve got ideas. But I’ve also got experience. As a business person I’ve been involved in developing proposals for investments that create jobs.”

- He says he’s gotten insight through volunteerism on what needs to be addressed in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

“So I’ve got not only ideas, but I’ve got practical hands on experience...”
- He says he’s been here and understands what Wood County needs.

“I’ve been involved in local government and worked with the people that have been here in the past and are here now and I can communicate with all of them.”

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

“I learned how to work with people who have different opinions. So even those who may disagree with me on one issue or another know they can call me and I will listen and I will try to do what’s best for them and everybody else.”