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Leonhardt to run for WV state Senate

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Kent Leonhardt, who ran unsuccessfully for the commissioner of agriculture seat now held by Walt Helmick, has filed pre-candidacy papers to run for the West Virginia State Senate.

Leonhardt, a Republican, filed papers April 23 with Secretary of State Natalie Tennant to run in the 2nd senatorial district. That seat currently is held by Sen. Larry Edgell, D-Wetzel.

Leonhardt is a veteran of Desert Storm/Desert Shield and served in the United States Marine Corps. He and his wife own and operate a 380-acre farm in Monongalia County. Leonhardt says his experiences will help him help the district.

"For the last 80 years, career politicians in Charleston have discouraged job growth by creating an unfriendly business environment in our state," Leonhardt said in a statement. "With valuable natural resources and a willing work force, the 2nd senatorial district should be flourishing. My years as a small businessman, farmer and career in the Marine Corps have provided me with the right mix of leadership and experience to represent the people of the 2nd district in the state Senate. I pledge to fight every day on behalf of my fellow constituents for policies that will improve the lives of our district."

Leonhardt put up a good fight against Helmick in the November general election. He received more than 297,000 votes, or 48.4 percent and won 23 counties, including six of the nine counties in the 2nd senatorial district.

As a veteran and farmer, Leonhardt said he would work to protect veteran interests and grow the agricultural industry in West Virginia.

"I am proud to live in a state that certainly goes above and beyond sending our fair share of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen to serve our nation," Leonhardt said. "We send our human treasure to help this country and we need to do more to welcome them home. This includes providing good jobs and a healthy environment. I guarantee I will do my best to serve veteran interests if chose by voters to represent the 2nd senatorial district in 2014."

If elected, Leonhardt will serve parts or all of nine counties in North Central West Virginia: Calhoun, Doddridge, Gilmer, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ritchie, Tyler and Wetzel.

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