Everhart not to run for town council seat re-election, with delegate seat in view
SHEPHERDSTOWN — Town council member Mark Everhart has served the Corporation of Shepherdstown for two consecutive terms, and announced his plan to not run for reelection in the upcoming primary elections.
In an interview on Friday, Everhart said he wants to focus his campaigning on winning the 67th Delegate District seat currently occupied by Delegate John Doyle. While Doyle has held this position for a number of terms over the years, Everhart said he thinks Doyle’s recent actions in the West Virginia House of Representatives may encourage voters to consider putting a new representative in the seat.
“We sacrificed leadership for someone who gets no respect in Charleston – Delegate Doyle,” Everhart said. “I don’t think he’s done a good job of representing us in Charleston, nor has he done a good job in moving the state forward. Jefferson County and the Eastern Panhandle is one of the few places in West Virginia that is gaining population. So it is incredibly important that we have a strong voice and leadership in Charleston.
“I’ve looked at Delegate Doyle’s voting record,” Everhart said. “He was the only member of the House to vote against the income tax for social security. Just yesterday, he voted against House Bill 4275, which would have improved handicapped accessibility to our schools and would have allowed locks to have been installed on school doors, to protect against school shootings. He does not vote for the best interest of the people of West Virginia, and I cannot sit idly by and let that continue.”
Doyle’s most prominent stance, in his present term, has been in opposing the construction of Rockwool’s plant in the former location of Jefferson Orchards. Everhart has publicly opposed the construction as well, having voted in favor of the town’s letter written in opposition to Rockwool. However, he is not planning on opposing Rockwool if he is elected to the delegate seat.
“I realize there are people who are concerned about Rockwool. I believe the best course of action they can take, is in independent monitoring. Rockwool has clearly defined Department of Environmental Protection permits that they must follow,” Everhart said, mentioning if Rockwool is found in violation of the EPA permits, he will take action against them. “I do believe Rockwool is doing the best they can to be a good neighbor. It is bringing 150 jobs to Jefferson County.”
Everhart, who is a University of Alabama alumnus, moved to Shepherdstown about seven years ago, after growing up and spending his career in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. He currently works as a freelance computer programmer.
In his time on the town council, Everhart has served on the Planning Commission, Police Commission, Finance Committee, Public Works Committee, Water Board and the Boards of Directors for the Train Station and the Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center. He was one of the founding members of the town’s Accessibility Committee, which has since been renamed the Age-Friendly Shepherdstown Board.
In his campaign as Doyle’s moderate Republican opponent, Everhart plans to continue championing many of the same causes he has stood for on the town council.
“I want to take what I learned from working in those committees, and make West Virginia more accessible for our seniors, our children,” Everhart said. “We need to do everything we can to protect education in West Virginia. We need to advocate for locality pay in West Virginia. We’re surrounded here in the Eastern Panhandle by Pennsylvania and Maryland and Virginia, all of which offer higher pay. We’re competing with them to hire the best teachers and the best police, so we need to be able to pay them similar salaries.”
Everhart said he wants to see tourism and business increase in West Virginia, by decreasing the cost of occupational licensing fees in the state and making it possible for the Hilltop House to be built.
“It would mean we would have two world classs hotels in Jefferson County, with the Hilltop Hotel and Bavarian Inn,” Everhart said. “It would mean Jefferson County could be a premier destination for people.”