Economy, Opioids, Teachers issues in 3rd Distrct WV Senate race

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PARKERSBURG, W.Va.-(WTAP) Mike Azinger won election two years ago to an unexpired term in the West Virginia Senate, after serving a term in the House. He says the state's recent job growth is the result of bills passed in the state legislature since Republicans took control in 2015.

"There's a lot of great things happening in West Virginia, and you have to give credit to the president," Azinger says. "But I think the legislature and the governor and a lot of things we've passed have been very helpful."

Azinger is unopposed in the May 8th West Virginia primary. But there are two Democrats seeking the 3rd District seat.

Local business owner Simon Hargus says he wants to reach across the aisle to accomplish his goals for the state.

"I'm not interested in sticking to a party line over logic," Hargus says. "I'm interested in going up there, listening to the community, making compromises and getting as much done as possible. That's my background as a businessman, and that's how I plan on being a legislator."

Local attorney Jim Leach has served on Vienna City Council the past two years.

Leach sees the move toward legalization of medical marijuana as an opportunity to address the state's opioid crisis.

"There are treatment options that come from the introduction of what's called CBD, or Cannabidiol, from industrial companies, Leach says. "These are anti-addictive, non-psychoactive medications, that can help addicts, in addition to some of the traditional treatments that are available."

Both Leach and Hargus say more could be done to address issues leading to the nine-day teacher protest during this year's legislative session.

Azinger, however, doesn't believe there will be any further action on teacher pay in the immediate future.

All are awaiting the report from the task force Gov. Jim Justice appointed to address problems with the PEIA program.