CHESTER-Thirteen years into his career as a West Virginia state delegate, Randy Swartzmiller doesn't think as hard as he used to about running for re-election.
"It's pretty much not even a topic of discussion in our house. My wife knows I enjoy it," said Swartzmiller, D-Hancock.
Swartzmiller, 53, of Chester, said he plans to run for an eighth term in 2014 and has filed the requisite pre-candidacy paperwork with West Virginia Secretary of State Natalie Tennant's office.
West Virginia state delegate Randy Swartzmiller plans to run for an eighth term. (Submitted photo)
Fellow 1st District Delegate Ronnie D. Jones, D-Hancock, also has filed pre-candidacy paperwork.
Swartzmiller, who also serves as speaker pro tempore, said now is not the time to walk away from political involvement.
"As a representative, these leadership positions give you a little more horsepower and a little more say in the process. It helps you to do more in your respective area," he said.
Swartzmiller was first elected to the state House of Delegates in 2000. He has been re-elected every two years since then, including, most recently, in 2012, when he beat back challenges from Republicans Carl Thompson and Justin Bull. He and Jones represent District 1, which incorporates all of Hancock County and part of Brooke County.
Early this year, then-Speaker Rick Thompson, D-Wayne, named Swartzmiller his second-in-command as speaker pro tempore, making Swartzmiller the first delegate from the Northern Panhandle to serve in that position in the state's 150-year history.
After Thompson was appointed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin as cabinet secretary of Veterans Assistance, the House elected Delegate Tim Miley, D-Harrison, as speaker, and he kept Swartzmiller on as speaker pro tempore. As such, Swartzmiller also is a member of the powerful House Rules Committee.
Swartzmiller describes himself as a "moderate to conservative" Democrat who champions gun rights and tends toward the pro-life side of the abortion debate.
"I look at them more as people issues-not Democrat or Republican," he said.
Swartzmiller has received a 100 percent rating from West Virginians for Life and a 92 percent rating from the National Rifle Association, according to Project Vote Smart (votesmart.org).
"I'm 110 percent pro-gun," he said, "even before I was in politics. I have a concealed-carry permit, and I love to hunt. ... I'm a true sportsman, and I believe strongly in our Second Amendment rights."
Swartzmiller also touts his record of securing "millions of dollars for the 1st District for roads, water/sewer projects, seniors, in-home health care, and education," according to a news release.
"It's really fulfilling when someone walks up to you and says, 'You really helped me out,' " he said. "I've always had an open-door policy. When you come to the capital (Charleston), unless I'm meeting with someone, my door's always open."
A 1978 graduate of Oak Glen High School, Swartzmiller also is a regulatory specialist at the Ergon-West Virginia Inc. oil refinery in Newell.
He and his wife, the former Jeanmarie Skerbetz, have been married 22 years. They live in Chester and have two daughters-Taylor, who attends West Virginia University, and Molly, who attends Oak Glen.