Huntington Lawyer Paul Farrell recently decided to get on the ballot for president in the state. What might have begun as a joke for Farrell is no longer a laughing matter.
Paul Farrell Jr. is a medical malpractice lawyer in Huntington. He’s never been involved in politics before and never thought he would be. But he said he worries more and more about the state he’s from and calls home, West Virginia. On Sunday mornings Farrell along with his two brothers have breakfast at his father’s house.
'We play around with the New York Times crossword and we talk and we were talking about politics and it was my mother who said she could bring herself to vote for Hillary, she’s probably as accurate of the West Virginia sentiment as anyone I’ve known and when she said she couldn’t vote for Hillary, my brother Sean said hey why don’t you run," Farrell said.
Why He's Running
Farrell said he has no dreams of being elected and he has no desire to be on the ballot in other states. He said in the last primary election the Democrats in the state opted for the “none-of-the-above” choice, which happened to be Keith Judd, a convicted felon currently serving a 17 ½ year sentence in Texas federal prison. Judd won 41 percent of the vote. Farrell says at least if they vote the other option, this time it’ll be him.
"It started out as a joke and I know a lot of people may think I’m doing it as a joke for the notoriety or the publicity, but when people vote I don’t think they’ll necessarily be voting for Paul Farrell Jr., but I think they’ll vote for the idea of what Paul Farrell Jr. represents and that is the right of dissent," Farrell said.
Farrell believes many West Virginians will vote to dissent. He has two brothers that work in the coal industry and his father is Cabell Circuity Judge Paul T. Farrell Sr. Farrell said not enough politicians on the national level care about the coal industry.
He pointed out that the national convention not only decides the nominee, it decides the democratic platform. He said that’s what he hopes to effect with delegates the winner of the nomination in the state takes to the national convention in Philadelphia in July.
"So by sending delegates from West Virginia even if the ultimate choice is Hillary or Bernie at least we can have some input that our platform must include some type of economic investment in our infrastructure for us to be able to survive and live in West Virginia and raise our families," Farrell said.
Federal Priorities vs. State Priorities
Farrell doesn’t think priorities have been straight in Washington for a while. He said coal is over-regulated and complains there’s no contingency plan for economically gutted regions in the state.
"We waged war on Iraq, we destroyed its economy and then we spent billions rebuilding its infrastructure. So what my point is if we’re going to be rebuilding anything, we should be rebuilding power plants and investing in clean technology in West Virginia," Farrell said.
Farrell says even if he does receive the most votes for the democratic nominee for president from the state, he won’t be getting into politics in the city or state.