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Former Democrat chairman running for Congress

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Nick Casey, a Charleston lawyer and former chairman of the West Virginia Democratic Party, officially announced his candidacy for Congress on Monday.

Casey is running for the 2nd Congressional District seat that will be vacated by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.

In January, Rockefeller announced his plans to retire when his term ends in early 2015.

"I am running because I am totally fed up with the gridlock in Washington," Casey said during his announcement in the Governor's Press Conference Room at the state Capitol. "They cannot get along. That hurts us all. I can disagree without being disagreeable."

Casey said he would like to work against the "waste that we see in Washington, wasted wars and other waste. ... We don't need more money. We need to stop wasting and stop fraud."

Maintaining the nation's infrastructure, creating jobs and using clean domestic energy sources will be Casey's priorities.

"We have roads only halfway built throughout our district. Finishing them will open up the middle part of West Virginia. When roads are built, businesses come in and jobs are created."

West Virginia has a wide array of energy sources, including water from the Ohio and Potomac rivers and coal, natural gas and wind turbines.

"We ship oil 6,000 miles to the U.S., when all we have to do is produce and process energy here," Casey said.

A wide variety of political leaders, supporters and relatives attended Casey's announcement ceremony.

They included: Allen Tackett, former adjutant general of the West Virginia National Guard; Kanawha County Sheriff Johnny Rutherford; Kenny Perdue, West Virginia AFL-CIO president; and Carte Goodwin, who served as the temporary replacement in the U.S. Senate for the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., between July and November 2010.

Also attending were Charleston Mayor Danny Jones; former Sen. Oshel Craigo, D-Putnam; and Dan Lauffer, chief operating officer of the Thomas Health System at Saint Francis Hospital in Charleston.

Casey served as chairman of Saint Francis Hospital's board of directors for 12 years.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., could not attend, but sent a letter that stated, "Nick is a problem solver. We need more of them in Washington."

Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper, a Charleston lawyer, said later Monday afternoon, "Casey will be good for the 2nd Congressional District. He will be good for Kanawha County. He has always been good to work with.

"Nick Casey also supported us in saving Yeager Airport," Carper added, when some were trying to build a new airport in Lincoln County that would have closed down existing airports in Charleston and Huntington.

Casey said Tuesday afternoon that he appreciated the mix of people at Tuesday's announcement, and that he is "pleased at the opportunity to look after such a diverse district. We are all West Virginians."

"We have some real economic bright spots -- cities like Shepherdstown, Martinsburg and Charles Town. All places in our district need attention."

Larry Puccio, chairman of the state Democratic Party, expects other people to announce their candidacies for the congressional seat.

"Any time there is an open seat, I think we will see three or four people from each party in the race," Puccio said. "Any time there is no incumbent, other people jump in."

Puccio said he would support whichever Democratic candidate wins the May 2014 primary. But as head of the state's party, he cannot support any candidate in a contested primary.

Casey, who earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Kentucky and a law degree from West Virginia University, is a managing member of Lewis Glasser Casey & Rollins, a Charleston law firm.

Casey is a past president and current member of the West Virginia State Bar Association and treasurer-elect of the American Bar Association, which has more than 392,000 members.

As a lawyer, Casey had experience in business development, government relations and legislative lobbying, as well as real estate leasing and acquisitions.

More information is available on Casey's campaign website, www.nickcaseyforwv.com.

Mary Frances, Casey's wife, and their two children, Erin and Anthony, also attended the event.

Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjnyden@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.


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