CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In asking voters to give him a promotion to the state Senate, six-term Delegate Mitch Carmichael, R-Jackson, said there's a clear choice in the 4th District Senate race.
"If you believe a more bipartisan approach in the Legislature is the right thing, there's a good reason for supporting my candidacy," Carmichael said Monday. "Are you going to add one more labor Democrat to the Senate and expect to make a change?"
His opponent, Jackson County Sheriff Mike Bright, said he's had many constituents ask him to run for the Senate, including current 4th District Sen. Karen Facemyer, R-Jackson, who is stepping down after 12 years in the Senate.
"I feel like my law enforcement experience and experience as an elected official working with the county budget would serve me well in the Legislature," said Bright, a retired state trooper completing his second term as sheriff.
Bright said his legislative focus will be on completing a toll-free four-lane U.S. 35 in Mason County, reducing jail and prison overcrowding, and job creation.
Carmichael agreed that economic development is the key issue for the Legislature.
"The main issue here in West Virginia is, obviously, jobs," he said.
Carmichael and Bright have differing opinions on how to grow the state's economy.
Carmichael emphasizes continued reductions in business taxes and less government regulation.
Bright said he also supports tax cuts, but not arbitrary cuts that would harm public education funding and other governmental services.
He noted that Century Aluminum officials recently testified that state and county taxes amount to about 1 percent of their overall cost of doing business.
"Businesses say they are taxed to death, but the taxes they paid were about 1 percent of their costs," Bright said.