Spoiler alert: here are just some of the recent efforts by Wheeling "newspapers" to promote local state senator Ryan Ferns.
A front page article on January 8 tells us that
Legislators Look at Elections for W.Va. School Board
In the article, Ferns makes an interesting admission:
Senate Majority Leader Ryan Ferns, R-Ohio, said he is hearing a lot of discussion among legislators about SB 20, and he suspects it could find traction.
“It’s pretty early in the session,” he said. “But from our conversations, there are a lot of people interested in it, and there are definitely members who strongly support it.”
Ferns said he doesn’t know yet if he would support the bill, and wants to learn more about the legislation. He said he doesn’t have much knowledge of public education, and relies on the information provided him by those who do.
Despite the paucity of information attributed to Ferns, his picture heads the article.
Another front page article:
Ryan Ferns, Ryan Weld Take Over New Roles in West Virginia Senate
This is news?
Should this be a front page article?
West Virginia Senators Ryan Ferns and Ryan Weld Welcome Medal of Honor Recipient Hershel Williams in Charleston
Despite putting Ferns rather than the veteran's name in the headline, the accompanying picture is of the veteran instead of Ryan.
Despite the amount of work done by delegate Shawn Fluharty the past two years to bring attention to sports wagering, the locals appear to be giving most of the credit to Ferns. (Note -- Ferns is the sponsor in the state senate.) This January 30 front page article on the introduction of sports wagering in WV gives him credit for introducing the bill. (His picture is included.)
A February 8 article tells us:
Sports Betting Bill Advances in the West Virginia Senate
Despite the headline, most of the article is about action in the House of Delegates and Fluharty does get some credit. Ferns does get one sentence at the end but guess who’s picture graces the story?
Teachers and teacher pay increases
Just because he has admitted that he doesn't know much about public education hasn't prevented Ferns from weighing in -- on numerous occasions.
First, there was a controversial op-ed that Ferns may or may not have written:
Keeping Our Young Educators in West Virginia
which argued for eliminating seniority in case of school layoffs. Ferns was originally listed as the author but the online version now gives credit to Ryan Weld. Additionally, Ferns has clashed with teachers and, in particular, blamed the heads of their teacher unions:
Ferns said the pay raise for the state doesn’t actually equal 5 percent for the state, but has been determined to mean as much as a 13 percent increase in cost to West Virginia taxpayers.
“The union bosses have attempted to make it less than what it is,” he said.
And on Saturday, WTOV quoted Ferns that he was not going to accept the "threats from big union bosses about closing down our schools."
The plot thickens
This all gets interesting because of former U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld's announcement on Monday to challenge Ferns for his senate seat. For Ogden newspapers, it may take more than daily mentions, weekly pictures, and occasional op-eds to overcome a Democratic candidate that may have a lot more credibility with voters than Ferns ever had.