Tina Russell: Why I’m Running

8 mins read

Love for our neighbors has to be the central part of our politics. In Mercer County recently, it hasn’t been. But our county deserves better; we deserve lawmakers who actually represent the good people here, who can serve as role models for our children, and who’ll represent our area to the world with dignity, kindness, compassion, intelligence—and grit.

That’s why I’m running for House of Delegates: I love Mercer County and the entire beautiful state of West Virginia. I know everyone deserves to be treated with dignity.

I’m here to fight hate with love. I’m here to create legislation to enable those recovering from addiction to have meaningful access to longer term residential treatment. I’m here to work toward more comprehensive wraparound services for children, to decrease the need for out-of-home placement. I’m here to dedicate more funding to improve the public education system we already have. We all have more in common than would ever set us apart, so we need a state government that will give hard working people real opportunities to thrive, right here in our district. I’m here because we need a legislature that puts regular people first, and recognizes that we can’t be defined by who we hate, but by who we help. We all have more in common than would ever set us apart, so we need a state government that will give hard working people real opportunities to thrive, right here in our district.

About Me

I’m a proud West Virginian who’s lived in this beautiful state for over 40 years.

I’ve been a public school teacher in Mercer County for nearly five. Before that, I spent 25 years as a social worker in Mercer County, and also facilitated addiction recovery group classes and other addiction recovery related case management programs. I’ve worked with children with special needs, and have assisted foster families in getting assistance to care for traumatized children that have been placed in their home due to neglect or abuse.

I’m also a veteran: I served 9 years in the U.S. Army, including a tour in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm.

I’m ready to fight for you. I’ve been doing it all my life. During my time as a social worker, I traveled to homes in just about every holler in Mercer County.

I’ve seen how families struggle to make ends meet at low wage paying jobs that rarely hire them for full-time hours, and how by the third week of the month they often have to rely on food banks to feed their children.

  • I’ve seen how folks frequently had doors slammed in their faces because of a drug conviction, when they just wanted the opportunity to work hard so they could to turn their lives around.
  • I’ve seen my colleagues and fellow social workers doing important work helping struggling families to become self sufficient at the same time they make such low wages, that they often qualify for the same programs we help clients access.

Above all, I consider myself an advocate for all those who are working hard and deserve to make a living wage, for those who want to be able to care for their families, and for those who deserve to have access to affordable healthcare.

It’s time we elect people who aren’t focused on helping the rich get richer, but instead will help working families improve their lives. It’s time we elect people who will not sell out public education to the highest bidder, and allow profits to be made at the expense of our teachers, public school personnel, and most of all, at the expense of our students. In short, it’s time to elect people who will put their neighbors’ needs above party, above politics, and above out-of-state interests.

I am that person.

What I’ll fight for

When I’m elected to represent Mercer County in the West Virginia House of Delegates, I’ll fight with love to help my neighbors have a legislative hand up out of poverty and addiction.

  • I’ll fight for an increase to the minimum wage. People who work hard 40 or more hours a week should be making a living wage.
  • I’ll fight for more mental health counselors, social workers, nurses, and school aids in the public education school system to help children who have been traumatized by addiction, poverty or some other tragedy.
  • I’ll fight for increased drug treatment facilities; we should not turn people away who need treatment and want to recover, and we should not rush to graduate addicts from recovery before they’re ready, just to open up a bed. We need long term thinking.
  • I’ll fight for families struggling with opioid addiction; we should provide more supportive recovery services, and we should work to reduce the need for out-of-home child placements as much as safely possible.
  • I’ll fight to get our rural roads, water, and sewer infrastructure properly maintained, and to increase broadband access. Who wants to move a business to a place with constant boil advisories, a place that may not even provide reliable clean water, much less internet?
  • I’ll fight for your right to live and work in a vibrant place where everyone who works hard has the opportunity to thrive.

So how can we put this bold legislative plan into action? By helping me win this election! Donate to my campaign at: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/russell-for-wv-1 :

Let’s work together to put our neighbors’ needs above the needs of out-of-state interests.

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Teacher, veteran, writer, activist. We need to bring love for our neighbors back into our politics! Running for WV Delegate in D27 (Mercer County) in 2020.


  1. I am for everything you said. Your message of love and respect caught my attention. I have one question. Any chance you’ll move to Maryland? Thanks for your continuing service to this country. I would be honored to have you serve in any capacity anywhere in the United States of America.

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