Democrat Del. Joey Garcia launches state Senate campaign

Garcia will pursue a seat in the state Senate, where only three Democrats remain amid the Republican-controlled Legislature

By: - August 15, 2023 2:38 pm

Del. Joey Garcia, D-Marion, announced Tuesday, Aug. 15, that he will pursue a seat in the state Senate on the 2024 ballot. (Perry Bennett | West Virginia Legislative Photography)

House of Delegates member Joey Garcia, a Democrat, is pursuing a seat in the state Senate on the 2024 ballot.

Garcia announced his campaign for the 13th District on Tuesday in Fairmont. 

The seat is being vacated next year by long-time lawmaker Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion. 

“The number one value we have is that everyone can stay, rebuild and succeed in West Virginia,” said Garcia, who was elected to the House in 2020. “There’s no greater goal than trying to keep our young people here — that we have the jobs, the health care system and the education to allow that to happen.”

Caputo announced last week that he wouldn’t seek reelection in 2024 after spending nearly three decades in the state Legislature. He will step down to spend time with his family, he said. 

He endorsed Garcia at Tuesday’s campaign announcement. 

Caputo is one of three Democrats in the state Senate as Republicans hold a supermajority in the Legislature. Republican candidate Jonathan Board, who lives in Fairmont, last week announced his campaign for Caputo’s seat.

“I am not going to change who I am as a person or candidate in order to win a race,” Garcia said. “I’m not afraid to vote my conscience and to speak out and live my values.”

If elected, Garcia’s constituency would expand beyond Marion County to include parts of Monongalia County. His tenure has focused largely on constituent services, he said, and he plans to work to get to know voters in Monongalia County ahead of the election.

“I’ve always prided myself on constituent services work, and think I’m going to have more support [in the Senate] and to be able to be a stronger voice for working class people of West Virginia,” he said. “I’m proud that when people reach out I answer the call.”

Garcia, 40, grew up in Fairmont and attended West Virginia University for his undergraduate degree then for law school. He and his wife reside in Fairmont, and his law practice focuses on personal injury, civil rights and criminal law.

“To be able to represent both of those areas at the same time, that’s a dream that I’m pursuing,” he said. 

As WVU is facing a financial crisis, which includes potentially eliminating dozens of academic programs and more than 100 faculty jobs, Garcia said he’ll certainly bring those issues to the Senate, if elected. 

“It’s a really scary time,” he said. “I’m listening and trying to help voice their concerns.”

During last week’s special legislative session, some House Democrats introduced a bill amendment that would have given WVU $45 million from state funds to help address the funding shortfall. Garcia supported the amendment, but it ultimately failed after House Speaker Roger Hanshaw said the amendment wasn’t germane to a bill that will fund Marshall University’s new cybersecurity center. 

This story was updated to include Jonathan Board‘s campaign announcement. 

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Amelia Ferrell Knisely
Amelia Ferrell Knisely

Amelia is an investigative reporter for West Virginia Watch. Her coverage regularly focuses on poverty, child welfare, social services and government.

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