House of Delegates candidates for the 11th & 13th Districts

Barbara Layton
Riley Keaton

With the upcoming election on Nov. 3, Jackson Newspapers wanted to provide it’s readers with some information on the candidate selections that focus on the Jackson County area.

House of Delegates candidates for District 11 which covers parts of Jackson and Roane Counties are Republican Riley Keaton and Democrat Mark Pauley.

House of Delegates candidates for District 13 which covers parts of Jackson, Mason, and Putnam Counties are Democrat Scott Brewer, Republican Jonathan Pinson, and Republican Joshua Higginbotham.

Each candidate was asked a series of questions. Their answers are provided below:

Riley Keaton, Republican

House of Delegates, 11th District

Why are you running for this office?

God gave me a heart for serving others and a head for solving problems. It would be the honor of my life to be able to put those gifts to work for the region, including my hometown.

My decision to run for House is based on a belief that we can compete for good-paying, family-supporting jobs while at the same time protecting our rights, preserving our values, and standing up for our rural and small-town way of life.

What are your top three goals?

My three biggest goals for the next two years in office are the expansion of our state’s business-ready sites to develop industrial jobs in rural communities; deployment of cutting-edge, reliable broadband and internet connectivity to communities like ours; and take on the addiction crisis while building a culture of recovery that replaces drugs with employment, family, community, and a fulfilling life.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position?

I’ve got an unmatched passion for seeing our state and communities like ours succeed. I will fight like no one else for our values and our priorities - not those of the well-funded special interests that work to defend the status quo.

We need a champion in Charleston. I offer a fresh set of eyes, new ideas, and a grit that will never give up on our communities and our state. I’d be honored to have your vote in this election. Visit my website at to learn more.

Mark Pauley, Democrat

House of Delegates, 11th District

Why are you running for this office?

I believe our government should be a reflection of our people, and I felt the solutions I have to some of the challenges we face weren’t represented on the ballot. Many folks I talked with agreed with those solutions, so I made the decision to run, and I’m still running on being “The People’s Representative.”

What are your top three goals?

I want to back proven methods of treating addiction so that we can fix the family unit in our communities. Drugs are robbing our businesses of employable people and our kids of parents. We talk about needing more and better jobs, but we’re going to have to get our people off drugs to be able to fill these jobs! Our education system will improve when our students aren’t worried about the basic life needs a safe and healthy, drug-free home environment provides. That brings me to my second goal, which is improving our public education system. I’m a big believer in public education, and I don’t believe the divide and conquer strategy is going to work when it comes to our education dollars. Pulling funds to create charter schools doesn’t fit the needs of the rural communities of Roane and southern Jackson counties. My third big goal would be to connect our rural communities with broadband and mobile access. We will never be competitive in the 21st Century world of business if we don’t get connected. This is a must for the future of our communities, and I will push for it tirelessly, because I have been a small business owner up a holler in Roane County. I know the struggle!

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position?

I’m invested in our communities. I work here. I’m raising a family here. My kids go to school here. I pay taxes here. I’ve owned a small business here. I volunteer here. My work with the City of Spencer has been great preparation for lobbying on behalf of our communities at the state level to get things done with infrastructure projects and funding. But the main thing is that this is home for me and I get wins. I. Get. Wins. I won’t accept anything less for my home and my people.

Scott Brewer, Democrat

House of Delegates, 13th District

Why are you running for this office?

My decision to seek a return to the House of Delegates was for many of the same reasons I initially ran in 2016. I’ve spent the past 20 years representing West Virginia construction workers in their quest for decent wages and access to health and retirement security. I see many of our citizens having the same struggle. A portion of the groups who’ve endorsed me represents nearly 100,000 middle-class West Virginians either working or retired. Those citizens are of special interest to me, and I want to take their voice back to Charleston. I’ve spent 54 of my 60 years living, working, hunting, fishing in, and enjoying our beautiful state, and all of our citizens deserve the same opportunities. With the support of educators/service personnel, our law enforcement community, blue-collar workers, the business community, healthcare workers, sportsmen/women, and seniors, along with my life experience, I’m confident I can legislate in their best interests. I pledge to never support laws that reduce wages and eliminate healthcare or retirement for hard-working West Virginians and will always support tax policy that’s fair to our citizens and businesses alike.

What are your top three goals?

My top three goals if elected are; 1. Investing in the infrastructure required to attract employment opportunities for our citizens. We need sites in Jackson, Mason, and Putnam Counties that are development-ready, including water, sewer, electric, and broadband that are easily accessible by highway. 2. Ensure income and safety protections for all public employees including educators, service employees, and our law enforcement personnel. Also, provide proper funding for the safety of our students. 3. To ensure that the thirteenth district has an elected official fighting for our share of the Roads to Prosperity funding to maintain our dilapidated roads.

Why do you feel you are the best candidate for this position?

I feel qualified to represent District 13 because I’ve served in the House of Delegates in the 83rd legislature in 2017-18, and currently serve on the Mason County Development Authority. I’m proudly endorsed by WV AFL-CIO, WV State Building Construction Trades, WV American Federation of Teachers, WV Education Association, WV School Service Personnel Association, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Painters, and Allied Trades, Teamsters, Service Employees International Union, United Mine Workers of America, United Steel Workers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters, Correctional Workers - Troopers - and Installers of the Communication Workers of America, Operating Engineers, Bricklayers, and Allied Crafts, WV Citizens Defense League, WV Troopers Association, WV Iron Workers, Sheet Metal Workers, WV Nurses Association, WV Association for Justice, Kanawha Valley Builders Association, National Rifle Association, and WV Directors of Senior and Community Services.

I believe it’s time for Governor Justice to call the legislature back into session to perform its duty and allocate the federal funds we received. It’s time to help our struggling businesses, help our unemployed workers, and make our schools as safe as possible for students, educators, and service staff. I invite you to contact me with any questions you have regarding my position on any issues. I can be reached by phone at 304 593-5010, email at God bless, and I’d appreciate your support on Nov. 3.

Jonathan Pinson, Republican

House of Delegates, 13th District

Why are you running?

I am running for the House of Delegates because conservative standards and commonsense are under attack in West Virginia. I have spent seven years serving our community as a police officer and nine years serving our community as a pastor – I want to continue serving our community in the House Of Delegates.

I believe we need less politicians in politics and more people who are going to stand for what is right.

I have a desire to stand up for faith and families all across our communities. I cannot stand by and allow individuals to harm family values and erode religious liberties and fail to act.

What are your top three goals?

First, I will make it a priority to lead our community by serving our community.

We need servant leaders who are willing to understand the obstacles facing our community and then work at addressing them. This applies to standing with teachers and bettering education, creating jobs, and tackling the drug epidemic.

Secondly, I will work on our infrastructure. We must address our roads and the lack of reliable, high-speed Internet if we’re going to continue helping families and attracting new businesses into our community.

Thirdly, I will defend your Constitutional liberties in Charleston.

I will not allow politicians to infringe upon your religious liberty.

I will defend your Second Amendment.

I will stand and fight for the unborn.

I will defend West Virginia families and our values!

Why do you feel that you are most qualified for this position?

After having spent seven years serving as a police officer here in Jackson County and currently serving as a Pastor in Mason County, I have a unique perspective on the problems that are facing our communities and how to address them.

I am the only candidate in this race that knows the responsibility of enforcing the laws that are created in Charleston.

I have served our community my entire adult life- we need to elect individuals who are willing to serve in an honest and trustworthy manner.

I have been endorsed by West Virginia For Life, West Virginia Business And Industry Council, and the West Virginia Farm Bureau, just to name a few.

I have the best possible rating for a non-incumbent with the NRA.

I would be honored to receive your vote and to serve you in the West Virginia House Of Delegates.

No response was received by Joshua Higginbotham, Republican, House of Delegates, 13th District.

Mark Pauley