Cookman says he’ll run in 2014

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CHARLESTON — Donald H. Cookman, the Hampshire County Democrat who was appointed to the state senate less than two months ago, announced today that he will run to keep his seat in the 2014 election.

Cookman, and fellow senators Herb Snyder, D-Jefferson County, and John Unger, D-Berkeley County, have signed and filed the necessary pre-candidacy paperwork with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant in Charleston.

“When Governor Tomblin appointed me to fill the vacant senate seat, I made a commitment to him and the people of the 15th District that I would be more than a seat warmer,” Cookman said.  “While I’ve only been in Charleston just a few weeks, I believe that I have shown that to be true.  I have jumped into the fray, attempting to focus on issues that my experience makes me well suited to address – such as reforms to the court system and issues near and dear to me – the interests of West Virginia’s children.  I don’t intend to be one of those politicians that is constantly running for office; however, I must announce my candidacy at this time because the seat will be open for election in 2014 and there is still so much more that I believe I can do to serve the people of the 15th District and the State of West Virginia.”

Cookman was appointed when Sen. Walt Helmick resigned in mid-January to be sworn in as the state’s new agricultural commissioner, a seat he won in November’s election.

Cookman’s name was one of three forwarded to Gov. Tomblin for consideration. Cookman retired from the 21st Circuit Court when he was chosen.

The 15th District is changing complexion in the 2012 and 2014 elections. The old district stretched from Hampshire County in the east across the mountains to Randolph and encompassed all or parts of nearly a dozen counties. It was the largest senate district geographically in the state.

After redistricting brought on by the 2010 census, the new 15th District includes the western half of Berkeley County, all of Morgan and Hampshire and the eastern portion of Mineral.

Martinsburg Republican Craig Blair was elected to the open seat last year. In multi-county districts, only one senator may serve from a particular county.

Cookman and his wife, Paula, reside in Romney. They have three children and three grandchildren.

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