I'm Jonathan Defibaugh.
I've spent my entire life in Parkersburg, and I'm running for office because I don't want to leave. While West Virginia has a number of issues that we're all aware of, many of which have impacted how I grew up, I can't help but be happy to see the rolling green hills every time I'm on my way back. Too many young people flee the state for opportunity or social change, but I want to bring that change home instead.
I'm a WVU-P student who's just about graduated. My degree is technically "multidisciplinary studies", but I've just bundled three majors (business/sociology/history) into one that I feel helps me better understand the political world and how best to tackle policy. I even had the opportunity to intern at the capitol right alongside sitting delegates. WVU-P has taught me, among many other things, that our community is an incredibly diverse and hard-working group of people.
That's partially why I care so much about things like labor. Growing up, I heard stories like my grandpa being able to afford a new Cadillac every other year on his union mechanic salary. I would see the once booming brick factories get littered with broken windows and fall into disrepair. I've only seen the ghosts of what used to be here, and yet with every person I meet I can hear a new story about their connection with a local business, a union, or a trade.
My parents themselves are small business owners - something I'm incredibly proud of. They risked everything, even when we were beyond paycheck to paycheck, and made it out the other end successful and community oriented. I want that to be an opportunity we can share, fostering those mom & pop shops and giving people more control over the place they spend most of their lives: work.
As with every moment of my life, entering the political world has been a massive learning experience. It's intimidating, and politicians aren't exactly the most relatable people, so I'm trying to be open-minded and transparent along the way. I want to be visible and reachable, so my neighbors feel like someone is actually representing them, not just coasting off of a name. You'll probably see me knocking doors or leaving mail sometime, so don't be afraid to flag me down and let me know how you want to make West Virginia better.