CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Paula Jean Swearengin filed officially with the Secretary of State’s Office on Friday, January 26 to run for the U.S. senate seat currently held by Joe Manchin and announced new staff and an expanded organization in her continuing bid for the 2018 Democratic nomination.
Swearengin, a coal miner’s daughter and granddaughter, has been traveling throughout West Virginia since May when she officially announced her candidacy, which has excited a large number of fans and supporters around the country.
With thousands of Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit users actively promoting her campaign and inspiring donors, Paula Jean has become a bit of a social media darling.
The candidate has raised all of her funds through individual donations, refusing corporate and PAC money.
She has also amassed a network of hundreds of volunteers on the ground in every congressional district in West Virginia.
A co-management team of Walt Sarkees, Morgantown, and Brandi Miller, Buckhannon will handle day-to-day operations. Teri Dalton, also of Morgantown, has been named Campaign Treasurer. Justice Democrats Executive Director and former Director of Organizing Technology for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign, Saikat Chakrabarti, will remain as coordinating liaison to the campaign.
Additional senior communications and coordinator positions are currently being filled. With volunteers in all 55 counties, regional and county captains are being assigned to organize canvassing and sign distribution.
Two national Progressive organizations, Brand New Congress and Justice Democrats, have provided strong support and campaign infrastructure for Paula Jean, giving her time to focus on talking to voters and hearing their concerns.
“The working class needs working class representation. Many people, mostly the working class, haven’t been fairly represented in Charleston, and I plan to change that, Swearingen explains. Our campaign has talented and energetic West Virginian boots on the ground. We’re backed by a national effort, but we had to bring it home for the final push.”
Swearingen, a coal miner’s daughter, grew up with toxic water and saw several members of her family sickened and killed by toxins released from the soil in a community contaminated with acid mine drainage and coal slurry. She is a champion for working people who, as is often the case in West Virginia, must make a choice between clean water and a job.
Campaign Coordinator Brandi Miller says much has been done already, and more is in the works. “We are busy planning events throughout the state to ensure we reach all voters,” she says. Campaign Director Sarkees states, “Big checks from corporate donors can’t buy the level of enthusiasm we’re seeing on the ground. This is a People’s campaign for certain.”
Paula Jean’s platform priorities include Medicare for all, diversity in economic development, universal pre-K and higher education, clean air and water, and tackling the addiction crisis through long-term peer recovery solutions. Swearingen’s complete platform, with information on how to donate or become a volunteer, can be found on her website, paulajean2018.com.