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Trust in the state Supreme Court must be restored

September 26, 2018

This is one of a series of columns written by candidates in contested races in the West Virginia general election on Nov. 6.

I am running for West Virginia Supreme Court justice, Division 1, to restore public trust with my 10-point plan. The West Virginia Supreme Court needs change. You have read about the Supreme Court’s alleged “indefensible spending” and violations of law. This has resulted in attempted plea bargains, a guilty plea to a federal crime, indictments, resignations and four impeachment trials. This is a court crisis unprecedented in West Virginia’s 155-year history. Public service is not self service. It is selfless service to you. Voters have the ultimate power from the West Virginia Constitution on Tuesday, Nov. 6, to restore public trust to the Supreme Court by electing me.

Here is my 10 point plan and my solemn pledge to you:

1. Decide your case impartially and quickly by interpreting law — not writing it.

2. Reduce my statutory salary of $136,000 to $36,000 and return $100,000 to West Virginia taxpayers.

3. Use my own furniture at the court: $5 desk and $3 chair.

4. Have an “open door” policy by actually having my door removed.

5. Eliminate wasteful spending.

6. Not use state cars or take expensive trips.

7. Increase scrutiny of court’s budget with more audits.

8. Improve the court’s efficiency and transparency.

9. Change the court’s culture of acrimony and secrecy.

10. Promote civic literacy and civility.

I am not a career politician, and I have actually practiced law. For the past 43 years, I have represented individuals, businesses and government agencies in a wide variety of legal matters and litigation in state and federal courts. I am a member of the West Virginia, Kentucky and Florida bars. I know state purchasing law and have a master of public administration degree, which I will use to restore financial accountability at the court. I have never held elective office.

I have spent my career working in the real world — the world where hard work gets you a paycheck and doing bad work gets you fired. Raising four children taught me the value of a dollar. I am not running a big-budget campaign with lots of paid volunteers who don’t have a clue who I am.

I was told recently that I could not win because I would not get the support of the political bosses and “big money” contributors who control West Virginia politics. My response was that these are the bosses who have run this state into the ground.

If we continue to elect career politicians and candidates chosen in back room deals by politicians, we should not be surprised if we get the same results. I am running a grassroots campaign for change at the Supreme Court, so I need your help. Let us send a message that voters have the final say on election day — not political bosses and their big money. I am proud to be a lifelong West Virginian, and I am asking for your vote — for change at the Supreme Court.

Harry C. “Bo” Bruner Jr., a Charleston resident, is a candidate for West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals in Division 1 (two-year term).

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