On Election Day last week, Republican Jill Upson defeated Democrat Tiffany Lawrence for the House of Delegates in the 65th District.
Jill Upson was born in California. After marrying her husband who works in the military, they had to relocate every two years. Eleven years ago, she and her husband moved to Charles Town in Jefferson County. Upson decided then she didn’t want to live anywhere else.
“When we got to this area, I just fell in love with it, and I just decided I’m done, that’s it, I’m going to stay here," Upson said, "And so he continued to receive orders, and move every two years, and I still stayed put. He’s been all over the place, but I stayed and raised my children in Jefferson County.”
Around 2009, after identifying as A-political for most of her life, Upson became interested in politics and specifically, Republican ideology. She started working with other candidates by volunteering and going door-to-door to interact with potential voters on their behalf. When the House of Delegates seat in the 65th District became available in 2012, Upson almost didn’t run.
“I initially said, no, that I wasn’t interested, and just through an entire series of events that occurred in my life, I decided that this was probably a good time to go ahead and give it a try.”
Upson lost in the 2012 election to Tiffany Lawrence, but this year the outcome was different. Her win surprised her.
“What happened was the day of the election, I was online looking at the different projections, and they said that I probably wouldn’t win, they said that the incumbent had a lot more money, and obviously incumbency is a benefit, and they just said that, you know, with the larger turnout that they were seeing, that they were thinking that I wasn’t going to win. So I was very surprised when I ended up winning by the margin with which I won, I mean that was really a pleasant surprise.”
Upson upset Lawrence with 56 percent of the total vote. She says she’ll stand for more conservative values in Charleston.
“Well I stand for fiscal conservative policies. I ran on enhancing education, restructuring our tax policy, on regulatory policies, and my tagline was ‘freedom and opportunity,’ so obviously individual freedom and economic opportunity.”
Upson says she has a list of things she wants to work on once she’s in office.
“The first thing I want to look at is, the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce came out with several policies that they put forth during the last legislative session that they felt would help spur economic growth, so I’d like to work with my colleagues in the legislature to really look at ways that we can start to implement some of those policies.”
Her ultimate goal is to always remember the voters who put her in office. She says she wants to be open and listen to the people, keeping their needs in mind and the lines of communication open between the Eastern Panhandle and Charleston.