The cat was let out of the bag on what was perhaps the worst-kept secret in the Greenbrier Valley on Saturday, as Vince Deeds announced his candidacy for the upcoming State Senate election in the 10th District. Deeds, who is a former West Virginia State Trooper and current lead-investigator for the Greenbrier County prosecutor’s office, will seek to unseat Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin. The announcement was made at the Greenbrier GOP’s “Great American Comeback Cookout Fundraiser” in Crawley, which was preceded by a parade, and drew some 800 attendees.
Before making his candidacy official, Deeds donned a Ronald Reagan mask and made his way through the crowd (along with Del. Barry Bruce dressed as Donald Trump and Sen. Jack David Woodrum dressed as Abraham Lincoln) in search of donations.
When the moment came for Deeds’ announcement, an introduction was provided by Greenbrier County Republican Committee Chairman Ben Anderson, which included criticism of Baldwin’s performance as state senator.
“For the past four years, our district has been plagued by Senator Stephen Baldwin,” Anderson began. “Senator Baldwin has been nothing but an empty suit for the 10th senatorial district. [ ] He is not what Greenbrier Valley values are.”
Anderson went on to say: “We have an opportunity to change that next year, and I am honored beyond belief that Vince Deeds has come to me and said that he intends to run for state senate in 2022.”
Anderson’s remarks were met with cheers from the crowd.
“Vince Deeds is the Pastor of Sinks Grove Baptist Church in Monroe County,” Anderson continued. “He is the lead investigator in the prosecuting attorney’s office of Greenbrier County. He is the Director of School Safety for the Board of Education. And he is one of the most honest, genuine individuals I think I know. I am honored to call him a brother and a friend.”
Anderson then embraced Deeds as the new candidate took the stage.
Deeds began by expressing his appreciation for the crowd’s reception.
“Thank y’all so much,” he said. “It is, it’s a blessing. It’s a pleasure of mine to be here today. What a great crowd, what a beautiful setting. And really, it’s really just a good time to be here as a West Virginian and enjoy this support that you all have so graciously brought out for the Republican party and for West Virginia. So with your support, I will be your state senator for the 10th senatorial district. I will represent you by working with you and for you. As your state senator, I believe you have a God-given right to know who I am and what I stand for as I represent you in Charleston. I want you to know who I am, ‘cause I represent you.”
Deeds elaborated further, saying, “I believe in faith, family and a future for our state and for our children. I do, I believe in God — the one true living God. As a pastor at Sinks Grove Baptist Church, I believe in the one true living God, and all the goodness, that every bit of the goodness in this world comes from him. I believe a God-fearing Christian can make a powerful, positive difference in this world. And all of our rights come from the one true living God, and not big government. I believe in our state and our country. By God’s providence, the United States of America is the greatest nation. This is the greatest nation in the world. And West Virginia is the greatest state formed in this world. From the cornfields to the coalfields, this is a great state.”
This was met with an additional spattering of applause. Deeds paused briefly to allow the cheers to taper off before continuing.
“Our country was founded on Christian values, don’t ever forget that,” Deeds said. “Don’t ever think that you’re in the minority, because you’re not. If you’re a Christian, if you’re a republican, you are what this country is founded upon. And our great state, from the cornfields to the coalfields, has been built upon the traditions of hard-working families. And as your state senator, I will defend against any efforts to dishonor our great nation and our state. And as your state senator, and as a citizen of this great nation, it is an honor and a privilege to stand for our national anthem and to stand for the American flag and all the great freedoms it portrays. I believe in family. Family is so important to me.”
“One of the largest issues facing our state and our families is our desire for our children to prosper — for them to have a future. We have to take care of our children. [ ] As your state senator, I will never compromise, nor will I waiver on the rights of an unborn child. I will vigorously defend the rights of children still in the womb. As Mountaineers we have to do that. As Mountaineers, we have a love of family and a love of children. We have to give them a bright future. We have to have them here, and give them a proper education.”
Deeds then spoke of his involvement in the public school system, saying, “As director of safety and security for the Greenbrier County Schools, I get to go out and visit these homes each and every day. And there is an epidemic — there’s a drug epidemic in West Virginia. Fentanyl, and all the terrible other things that come along with that. So traditional families are broken because of the drug epidemic. But it’s so important that we give our kids every opportunity to have a good, fair, equal education. And then equip the teachers to do their work.”
As Deeds neared the end of his remarks, he said, “I want to share this as I close: I believe in law and order. It is so important that we have a proper law and order. Peace and security is a fundamental right provided by a proper government for its citizens. That’s what we expect, that’s what government does. It protects us, it gives us opportunities. And it’s with godly wisdom that we’ve been given the 2nd Amendment. And I promise you, as your senator, I’ll defend the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and this right shall not ever be infringed under my watch.”
This was again met with applause.
“However, we can never know true freedom without law and order,” Deeds further stated. “As a man who has committed my entire life to law and order. First, I was a West Virginia State Trooper — I retired from that. Now I’m chief investigator for the prosecutor’s office here in Greenbrier County, so I can continue to serve you. I am an avid supporter of law enforcement. And as your state senator, I will vigorously oppose any attempt to defund or de-prioritize law enforcement and all first-responders that allow us to sleep at night. [ ] Together, they run to the battle between good and evil. [ ] And I promise you, I vow this to you — this is a vow. And I believe, if I take a vow, if I take an obligation, if I take an oath — it is my duty, it is my obligation, now I promise you this…this is my vow: I will forever, forever stand with our first-responders and our veterans to fight for the freedoms on which this country was founded upon.”
Deeds concluded by saying, “As a state senator, I give this promise to you, I make this oath before you today: if I’m elected your senator, I will be, I will protect your freedom. Your freedom to have a godly faith. Your freedom to have a traditional family. Your freedom to have a prosperous future. Together with God’s divine providence, we will succeed, and we will succeed beyond measure to what our wildest dreams can be.”
The West Virginia State Senate primary elections are expected to be held in the first half of the calendar year 2022. The general elections are scheduled for Tuesday, November 8, 2022.