Paul Cowey, 87 Mankowski Lane, Weirton

Age: 60

What is your education?

     Graduated from Oak Glen High School. Received the Certified Professional Photographer Degree from the Professional Photographers of America. Alumni and Assistant Instructor of the Triangle Institute of Professional Photographers.

* What experience do you bring to the job?

     A businessman for over 37 years, (owner of Kathleen & Paul’s Portrait Gallery)  

     Former President of the Northern Hancock County Rotary Club. 

     Served on the Jefferson County Christian School Board for 10 years, 6 of which I served as the Executive Secretary.

     Served as a Hancock County Election Commissioner for several elections. 

      As Commissioner, I have been working in co-operation with different agencies and individuals and have the experience to help Hancock County continue to grow.

       I serve on multiple boards which are an asset for the betterment of Hancock County. Serving as vice-chairman on the Top of WV Convention and Visitor Bureau, I’m working on bringing tourism and entertainment into our county through concerts, festivals, museums, and other events.

      Serving on the Brooke, Hancock, Jefferson Metropolitan Planning Commission has been helpful to Hancock County, by providing surveys needed to help our Water & Sanitation PSD’s, transportation needs, and broadband expansion to those areas that are not yet served.

       Serving on the Northern Panhandle Workforce Board to ensure our residents are being served, by helping and retraining individuals who are out of work.

       I have worked with our Brooke-Hancock Family Resource Center, along with the Hancock County Health Department, and the United Hancock County Firefighter Association, etc. 

       In 2020 I was the first Hancock County Commissioner honored with the Rising Star Award from the County Commission Association of WV for my dedicated service, chosen from County Commissioners statewide .

    I have been very active working for the betterment of Hancock County and all its residents.

*Primary Responsibility of the County Commission?

     To properly manage the citizens money, provide the best public services to all residents of Hancock County.  Promote economic development. Provide good paying jobs for our public employees.

*Qualities I possess to be a strong County Commissioner?

    As a candidate for re-election as a Hancock County Commissioner I believe my following traits are an asset to the residents of Hancock County; a very strong work ethic, serving with honesty and integrity,  a love for the county, a very good business sense, a strong desire to help the citizens of Hancock County, and the willingness to learn and be open-minded.

*Population/Industry/Business loss in past 10 years – what can the Commission do?

      When I ran for my 1st term as County Commissioner, the biggest potential for growth that I saw was the the old Weirton Steel property not being used.  Since taking office the Frontier Group has come into Weirton and cleared several acres of land to be used for future industry and businesses.  I believe our future growth in Hancock County looks promising.  Working with local, state and federal agencies there is great potential for growth. The progress that is happening will help our economy throughout the Northern Panhandle and especially Hancock County. We are continuing to upgrade our infrastructure and work with businesses currently located in Hancock County.

*The County spends $30,000/00/year on membership in the Business Development Corporation of the Northern Panhandle. Two of our municipalities (Chester and New Cumberland) no longer hold membership in the BDC. Do you support continuing the Commission’s membership? Do you think the County has gotten an acceptable return on its investment?

     YES, I support the Business Development Corporation.  As part of reversing loss of industry and business in Hancock County it’s important to have an organizartion that promotes the county and works diligently to actively seek new

business and industry and also assist in current economic development. The BDC has served in that roll over the years in various ways, and are partially responsible for identifying some of the new businesses & industries currently locating in Hancock County for further development.  Hancock County support has assisted the BDC in obtaining millions of dollars in grants from numerous federal and state agencies to aid in the redevelopment of priority sites, assisted with community development initiatives including broadband expansion and the removal of blighted property.

Total Public & Private Investment captured with the BDC support in Hancock County (since 2012) is $102,624,065.00   I consider that a very good investment for Hancock County.

*Senate Bill 12, passed in 2021, Opportunity to review and approve, amend or rescind rules or regulations adopted by the Hancock County Health Board. Under what circumstances would you vote to rescind actions of an appointed board?

        The SB 12, I believe was passed to help a county if a rule or regulation is made that the overall county citizens would not be in agreement with.  At this time the County Commission and the Hancock County Health Board work well together.  As President of the Commission, I sit on the Hancock County Health Board, as a non-voting member.  Our Health Department has done an outstanding job, especially during these past couple of years with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.  They have put in hours of prep-time and have helped our area in curbing the pandemic numbers.  I can not predict the future of an order or regulation that the Commission would have to step in on, instead I’ll work with the Hancock County Health Board to do that which is best for our citizens, as long as it doesn’t infringe on our citizens personal rights and freedoms.