CHARLESTON -– With the West Virginia candidate filing period looming, West Virginia Republican Club President Lisa Peana called on concerned Republicans to consider running for public office in 2008.

"There is a common misconception that legislators must be a lawyer or have previously served in a local office," Peana said in a press release. "Instead, most legislators come from a wide variety of occupations and that is a good thing.

"Some can bring the gift of a long life's experience, and some can bring new ideas and enthusiasm. However, we need new voices in the capitol as we have experienced decades of failed economic policy wrought by seventy-four years of single party rule."

The candidate filing period begins on Jan. 14 and concludes at midnight on Saturday, Jan. 26.

West Virginia Democrats have controlled both chambers of the West Virginia Legislature since 1932, and the West Virginia Republican Club leaders have pledged to help elect more Republicans to the legislature in 2008.

Republican Club Vice President Charles Bolen believes that while 2006 was not a particularly good election for his party, it is still moving in the right direction compared to past decades.

"Change will not happen overnight, but it will happen if everyday West Virginians step forward and answer the call to serve," he said. "In 1990, there was only one Republican in the State Senate, today there are 11. We only need six more seats to win control of that chamber.

"In 1976, there were only nine Republicans in the House of Delegates. Today, we have 28 elected Republicans, just down four seats from the 2004 election, when our party suffered far more severe losses nationally."

Bolen cited his reason for optimism in the upcoming election.

"Statewide Democratic Party affiliation fell to less than 57 percent of all registered voters this year, its lowest level since 1946," he said. "Now the Democrats will likely be facing West Virginia voters with a Presidential candidate [New York Senator Hillary Clinton] at the top of the ticket who does not reflect our state's values and we have seen what that meant in 2000 and 2004."

The group's political director, Mike Ankrom, encourages those Republicans interested in running for elective office in 2008 to visit the group's Web site at http://wvrepublicanclub.org.

Ankrom added that the club will be working with Republican elected officials and party leaders to provide candidate education, support and training throughout the state in the upcoming election.

The West Virginia Republican Club was formed in early November as an all volunteer organization. Their 2008 goals include winning the Supreme Court seat currently held by Justice Larry Starcher, winning the Attorney General's seat currently held by Darrell McGraw, retaining the Secretary of State's office currently held by Betty Ireland, winning increasing Republican seats in the West Virginia Legislature and supporting the efforts of state Republican Chairman Doug McKinney to retire the State Party's debt currently reported in excess of $100,000.

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