Bluefield Daily Telegraph
When voters in Mercer County head to the polls on Nov. 6, they will be making a critical decision regarding future leadership on the Mercer County Commission.
The good news to report is that the ballot will contain the names of two exceptional candidates. The bad news is voters can only choose one of these two men to serve on the county commission. Republican Gene Buckner and Democrat Terry Hughes are vying for the commission seat currently held by Democrat Jay Mills, who lost the Democratic primary in May to Hughes. Buckner won the Republican primary.
The laundry list of problems facing Mercer County are having a crippling affect on our region. And the blame for many of these problems can be pointed at the current seated commission that has proven itself to be woefully ineffective in recent years.
No one man or woman can right the ship overnight. But it is critical that we have new leadership on the board. A commissioner who is willing to fight for jobs. A commissioner who is willing to fight for the hiring of a dynamic county administrator — an individual who would not only handle the day-to-day business of county government but, more importantly, an individual who would be in the forefront of promoting the county, recruiting potential industries and jobs, securing state and federal grants and developing new tourism initiatives. And a commissioner who will fight for open government and improved communication between the commission and its citizens.
Simply put, Mercer County is falling behind. The current commissioners are not aggressively fighting for the betterment of our county. Change is needed — and soon.
Both Buckner and Hughes would do an exceptional job. But only one man can be elected Nov. 6.
After careful deliberation and debate, the editorial board of the Daily Telegraph unanimously endorses Buckner.
Buckner, a local businessman who has served as the owner and operator of the NAPA Auto Parts stores in Bluefield and Princeton for the past 35 years, appears to have a good vision of what needs to be done to get Mercer County moving again, and he has made it clear that he will actively fight for change. That’s what we need. We need a commissioner who is willing to fight for what is right.
And it’s no secret that Buckner should have already be on the commission. He won the actual county commission race two years — defeating current commissioner Mike Vinciguerra by an impressive margin of 1,700 votes. However, Buckner’s victory was challenged by the current commissioners, and eventually vacated because he had moved from the district he was elected to serve. As a result, more than 1,700 voters in Mercer County had their votes and their voices taken away from them. Vinciguerra, the loser of the contest, was then appointed to the commission. The entire process left many voters shaking their heads in disbelief.
We believe the time has finally come for Buckner to be seated on the commission. And we urge voters across Mercer County — Republicans and Democrats alike — to support him. Because we need a new voice, and an aggressive new leader, on the county commission. Buckner is that man.
We cannot continue on our current course. The hour for change has finally arrived. When heading to the polls on Nov. 6, we urge voters to cast a ballot for Buckner and for the future of Mercer County.