July 12, 2007
 
POLITICS: WV Secretary of State Betty Ireland Will Not Seek Office in 2008
 
By HNN Staff
from Ireland news release
 
Charleston, WV (HNN) — Secretary of State Betty Ireland announced today that she will sit out a run for public office in 2008, either in a reelection campaign or for another office.
 
In making her decision, Ireland said attending to the daily needs of her aged parents would not allow her to plan and run a political campaign, while at the same time fulfill her duties as the Secretary of State. “Something had to give,” said Ireland.
 
However, she does not plan to sit idly by when her term ends in January 2009; Ireland plans to continue to take an active role in promoting women in public service. Currently she is in discussion with the Stennis Center for Public Service to develop a speakers bureau and with one of the state’s universities to become a lecturer on women’s issues. Also, on the horizon for 2009, she plans to work with the state Republican Party to develop a new women’s outreach program.
 
“I know West Virginians of all walks of life can relate to that time that comes for all of us when we must turn our attention to caring for those who spent so much of their life caring for us. That time has arrived for me, and I want to offer my mother and father all the time and attention they deserve at this critical moment in their lives,” said Ireland, whose parents are both in their 90s.
 
“I have a year and a half to serve, and I remain devoted to carrying out my duties completely and with the highest level of service,” said Ireland. “But I decided to end the speculation about my own plans for 2008, so others could make their plans and move forward accordingly.”
 
The Secretary said she had considered a state Senate run so she could remain in close proximity to her parents, but eventually decided even that move would not be fair to either her constituents or her family.
 
Regarding the new program with the State Republican Party, Chairman Doug McKinney said he was thrilled when Ireland agreed to lead the new party initiative. “Betty has set a wonderful example for other women to follow in politics,” said McKinney. “She has demonstrated how to overcome obstacles, meet some extraordinary challenges, and carry out her public duties in a way that brings honor and pride to her state, her office, and her party. We look forward to working with her.”
 
Said Secretary Ireland, “Encouraging women to become involved in seeking office is a passion of mine. These new efforts are very exciting and will allow me to enjoy a more flexible schedule, while continuing to be involved in the public arena after I leave the Secretary of State’s Office. I may well choose to offer my services for elective office at some point in the future, but for now, this is the right choice for me.”
 
Ireland also plans to be active in those issues that affect seniors. “Because of my parents’ situation, I have acquired a great deal of knowledge about Medicare, Medicaid, reverse mortgages, nursing homes, assisted living, home health care, and other issues that affect seniors, and I intend to use this experience to do a better job for our seniors,” Ireland said.
 
Ireland said her time in office so far has coincided with the most dramatic changes in voting requirements in history. “Our office has and will continue to meet all the new requirements of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), and a complete revamping of voting machines and technology across the state,” said Ireland.
 
Under her guidance, the Secretary of State’s office has also made great strides in the utilization of technology to help those who conduct business in West Virginia. Ireland’s office introduced the first use of digital signatures in the state; it also has made impressive improvements in on-line filings for public notices, business filings and election filings, as well as updates to the office’s website and data base search capabilities.
 
“It amazes me how much this office has accomplished in such a short period of time,” Secretary Ireland said. “I have a full schedule for my remaining eighteen months in office, and then look forward to embarking on new endeavors. Although my personal obligations will not allow me to execute a political campaign for 2008, don’t count me out in the future.”

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