By Kelly Cambrel
Secretary of State Natalie Tennant made a campaign stop at the Shepherdstown Train Station Saturday to meet with local constituents and raise funds for her gubernatorial race.
At an event organized by local residents, Tennant, who is set to run for governor in the 2011 special primary election in May, discussed her goals for office and solicited questions from potential voters.
According to Debra Cornwell, who helped organize the meet and greet, bringing Tennant to Shepherdstown was an opportunity for the candidate to reach out to politically active constituents in the Eastern Panhandle.
"I thought the people of Shepherdstown would "bring it'," she said.
Cornwell, a former Shepherdstown resident, organized Tennant's visit to the train station in coordination with a fundraiser event held at her home in Charles Town the evening prior to the meet and greet.
"Shepherdstown is unique in West Virginia history. A lot of firsts happened in Shepherdstown," she said.
For Tennant, who hopes to be the first female governor, meeting with citizens at the train station was a part of a grass-roots approach to campaigning that she endorses.
"This is where candidates start, in rooms like this," she said.
In her remarks Tennant discussed the crossroads she believes West Virginia is at.
"This is our moment," she said. "Are we going to move forward?"
Tennant expressed her desire to utilize technology in a way the would be beneficial to West Virginians and noted her devotion to the development of online voting resources, as part of her work as secretary of state.
Tennant pointed to her recent "expert testimony" before Congress on the topic as an example of the potential she feels West Virginia has to be a known for leading in research and development of new ideas.
"I'm going to be the technology governor," she said.
In response to questions about developing strategies to find "greener" energy sources and lessening West Virginia's economic dependence on coal, Tennant expressed hope that that the state would find ways to extract the mineral in a way that's less detrimental to the environment.
A supporter of a more "open and engaging" approach to governing, Tennant concluded her visit with the promise that as governor, she'd return for more face-to-face events with voters.
"It is not my government," she said. "Today is about getting feedback."
Cornwell said Tennant is scheduled to return to the Panhandle for a Jefferson County Democratic Executive Committee dinner at the end of April.