Lovejoy, Rohrbach win House re-election
HUNTINGTON — Incumbents Chad Lovejoy and Dr. Matt Rohrbach will head back to Charleston for another term to represent District 17 in the state House of Delegates.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Lovejoy, a Democrat, and Rohrbach, a Republican, won 5,741 votes and 5,726 vote, respectively, Tuesday, according to unofficial results. Lovejoy will return for his second term and Rohrbach his third.
The pair beat out Democrat Jeanette Rowsey, with 4,161 votes, and Republican Joyce Holland, with 3,643 votes.
District 17 is primarily located in Cabell County, with five precincts in Wayne County. It runs from East Pea Ridge to Camden Park, including West Pea Ridge, downtown Huntington, Spring Valley and Westmoreland.
Lovejoy, of Huntington, an attorney, was first elected in 2016.
“When it’s your first re-election, people have the opportunity to cast judgment on the work you have done, so to have the confidence of my community is very humbling,” Lovejoy said Tuesday night.
During his campaign, Lovejoy said he is working on legislation to strengthen summer feeding programs for students, the next step after the passage of the Shared Table initiative he sponsored last session. Shared Table allows schools to open a space where students can drop off unwanted food to be used by other students.
Lovejoy also wants to bring back a bill he sponsored that would have required workers compensation to cover post-traumatic stress disorder treatment for first responders. The bill never made it out of committee during the 2018 session, but Lovejoy said he has been working on fine tuning the bill in regards to concerns some other legislators had and is building a consensus to have it pass.
Rohrbach, of Huntington, a physician at HIMG, was first elected in 2014. He said he was happy the voters had confidence to send him back to Charleston and he was excited to continue working to improve the state.
“The dynamic duo is back together,” Rohrbach said of him and Lovejoy. “I think Chad and I work well together, and I’m happy to go back and continue working.”
As a doctor, Rohrbach said he feels it is his duty to speak on public health and the opioid crisis.
Rohrbach said he is working on a piece of legislation regarding the regulation of sober living houses, similar to a bill he submitted previously. Lovejoy is also involved in this work. Rohrbach said no matter the type of treatment a sober living house provides, it should meet some standards of care to ensure people are receiving quality help.
Other than public health, Rohrbach said he is all about the economy. He said he wants to create a program to analyze what industries each region needs to target, like natural gas, feed stock or other energy sources. Once the targets are set, he said, money needs to be directed to recruit those industries.