3 hopefuls picked to replace Helmick

ROMNEY — A Hampshire County judge is one of three people selected to fill the Senate seat vacated by Sen. Walt Helmick, this month following his election as commissioner of agriculture.

< p align=”justify”>Romney resident Judge Donald H. Cookman’s name will be submitted this week to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to fill the open 15th Senate seat, along with Upshur County resident Mike Ross and Tom Hawse from Hardy County.

Judge Donald H. Cookman

Judge Donald H. Cookman

Helmick was sworn in to his new office on Jan. 14, four days before the 15th Senatorial District Democratic Executive Committee met Friday morning in Romney to select three names.

After being chosen, Cookman said, “I am surprised and humbled with the vote.”

“I appreciate it and I am ready for the next step.”

Cookman, who said he’d bring 20 years of experience in the executive and judicial branches to the job, said he would run for re-election if he were Tomblin’s choice.

“I know the law. I established a substance abuse program,” Cookman said.

Other candidates nominated by committee members included Lisa Amoroso and Charles Sheetz. The committee also received a letter from Margaret Beckwith, who expressed interest in the seat. The 18-member committee representing nine counties cast 15 votes for Cookman, 12 for Ross, and nine for Hawes.

The three names will be submitted to Tomblin, who has five days to select one of the three candidates selected.

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