Delegate Suzette Raines to run for WV State Senate - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Kanawha Delegate Suzette Raines to run for WV State Senate

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Delegate Suzette Raines, R-Kanawha, has filed pre-candidacy papers to run for the West Virginia Senate.

Raines, who currently represents the 35th House District, is seeking the seat currently held by Sen. Brooks McCabe, D-Kanawha. Raines said at an April 30 news conference that she had spoken to McCabe who responded positively. She said McCabe would make an announcement regarding his own candidacy in June.

"I appreciate his service and thanked him for that," Raines said.

Raines was born and raised in Belle and attended public school in the area. She now resides in St. Albans but said her heart is still in the Upper Kanawha Valley. Running for the state Senate would allow her to represent most of the people who currently live in the 35th House District, as well as Belle and surrounding areas, which lie within the 17th Senatorial District.  Raines made her announcement in Belle.

"There's an opportunity for me to represent not just the 35th District, but the eastern end of the valley, where I grew up," she said. "This was not a political decision. This was a decision made with my heart."

Eastern Kanawha County has had trouble with drug abuse and lack of job opportunities. But Raines said she hopes that by representing voters in the district, she can help change the way of life.

"My decision to run for office in 2012 was based on the need to improve the quality of life for all West Virginians," Raines said. "That really starts with jobs and education and reducing government spending. While I continue that mission in my service in the 35th District, I'll be looking ahead to what I can do to help more people in the Kanawha Valley."

Raines has one more year in her freshman term in the House of Delegates. She'll work with other lawmakers during the interim period, as well as the 60-day 2014 regular session. She said she wanted to make the announcement now so her colleagues know her intentions well ahead of time.

Raines is one of 11 new Republicans elected to the House of Delegates in the 2012 election. She received the second highest number of votes in her district, out of four candidates, thanks in part to a grass-roots effort. Raines said that although the Republican Party is close to gaining a majority in the House — Republicans hold 46 seats in the House to Democrats' 54 – there is also promise in the Senate.

"Because of that promise, I want to be part of that team that tries to increase the number of Republicans serving in the State Senate," she said

Raines acknowledged that vacating the House for the Senate is risky, but her desire to represent Eastern Kanawha County outweighs that.

"Others have implied, ‘You have a safe seat. You were a first-time candidate and came in second place. Why would you risk giving up a seat potentially?' I'm doing this for the right reasons. I want to help more people, and I'm willing to take the risk to do it," she said.

Candidates cannot officially file to run for office in the 2014 election until January.