MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The new chairman of the Monongalia Democratic Party Executive Committee is Cal Carlson. Carlson is a Morgantown native and attended Shepard University. On WAJR’s “Talk of the Town,” Carlson said his parents encouraged him and his brother to be active in the community and politics at a young age, and he has done just that.
“In college, I was on the Student Government Assembly (SGA), and I was always involved in the process,” Carlson said. “So, coming back here, I want to be an inspiration for young people to get involved in the political scene and know it’s not just an old person’s game; there’s a seat at the table for young people.”
An education campaign as the May 2024 primary approaches is a priority in Monongalia County. Carlson said single-member delegate districts at the state level, charter changes in Westover, and making sure voters are properly registered are priorities.
“People who did not come to the polls in 2022 could be in for a shock,” Carlson said. “I want to make sure people are educated on what district they live in, what district they’re supposed to vote in, and some of the other new initiatives that are going to be on the ballot.”
Carlson also wants to include the independent voter in their messaging because, in the absence of Democratic choices, many of those voters have migrated away from the party but still don’t consider themselves conservative.
“They may not always be voting Democratic because there’s not been a lot of Democratic contests the last few years,” Carlson said. “But they want the option to vote on the other ballot.”
On the importance of casting a ballot, Carlson pointed to two races settled by less than 200 votes in Monongalia County. In 2022, the race between Republican Mike Oliverio and Democrat Barbara Fleischauer for the District 13 State Senate seat was won by Oliverio by 153 votes, and the race between Republican Debbie Warner and the 82nd District House of Delegates was won by 139 votes.
“There are a lot of elections that matter, and these are races that matter,” Carlson said. “People need to be motivated to come out to the polls and know this is going to impact their community, and they can’t stay home.”
The Monongalia County Democrats hold a monthly meeting on the second Monday of the month at the Plumbers and Pipefitter Local 152 at 100 Richard Avenue in Morgantown. Carlson said there are a variety of volunteer opportunities, including committee assignments, representing a district in the county, volunteering as a poll worker, or even running for office.
“We welcome you to join one of our many subcommittees, we invite you to run for office,” Carlson said. “There are a lot of different races on the ballot this year and I would love to see every race filled with a candidate or two.”