CHARLESTON -- Here is the prepared text of the speech Supreme Court candidate Beth Walker gave Tuesday at the Charleston Area Alliance offices:

Thank you Tom, for that very kind introduction. I am Beth Walker, and I'm running for the Supreme Court of Appeals because West Virginians deserve a fair and impartial court system.

I'm tired of our court system not giving both plaintiffs and defendants a fair shake. I am seeking the support of all West Virginians who agree with me that the Supreme Court should act in its intended role – an independent branch of government deciding cases based upon the Constitution, established law and precedent. The Court should not be an impediment to prosperity and opportunity in our state.

When you go to a football game or any sporting event, you trust that the officials are going to make calls based on fairness and impartiality and not because they want one of the teams to win. For example, you trust that it takes 10 yards for either team to make a first down, not 9 yards for some teams and 11 yards for other teams. As West Virginians, we should trust that our Supreme Court is treating everyone just as fairly and deciding cases based upon established law and not based upon a preconceived agenda.

I want to thank Matt Ballard and the folks at the Charleston Area Alliance for permitting us to use this room today although its remodeling is not yet finished. This entire building, which has office space used by a large number of small and new businesses, is a reminder of the positive change that can occur when we as West Virginians make commitments to improve our communities and state.

I also want to thank my family, friends and supporters for standing up with me here today. I recognize that we have a number of elected officials in attendance, and I want to thank them not only for their public service but also for taking time from their busy schedules to be here.

This is my first run for public office, and I am moving forward with a commitment to making a positive contribution to West Virginia. My point of view is one not of a politician but of a lawyer with utmost respect for the importance of our judiciary. As a member of the bar, I have sincere reverence for the institution of the Supreme Court of Appeals. I also am experienced in how the court system works and what improvements can be made to make sure that all West Virginians are confident that if they have disputes, they are decided fairly in our courts.

As a candidate, I look forward to traveling throughout West Virginia and speaking about how the Supreme Court is an essential part of our state's bright future. As a justice of the Supreme Court, I would be constantly mindful of the solemn responsibility of that office. While the other two branches of government – the legislative and the executive – have specific checks on their authority, the judiciary is unique in that the only check upon its exercise of power is its own self-restraint.

The due administration of justice is the firmest pillar of good government. When our judicial system is fair and impartial, working West Virginians can see a positive future and companies can invest in West Virginia with confidence in a strong workforce and a court system that will not impede positive change.

Thank you.




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