(March 16, 2016, Mathias, WV) In what may be a first in West Virginia electoral politics, a wife-and-husband couple in Hardy County has announced their candidacies as Libertarians for House of Delegates and State Senate, respectively. Tonya Persinger and her husband, Matt, decided they were tired of political business as usual and that voters deserved a choice on the ballot other than Republicans and Democrats. “We’re for smaller government – economic liberty, reducing taxes, home-schooling and parental rights, hemp and marijuana law reform, helping people voluntarily, 2nd Amendment gun rights, ‘lifestyle’ freedom – but the major parties don’t speak for us anymore,” said Tonya Persinger, who home-schools the couple’s two young boys. Adds Matt, “We’re steadily losing our liberties in this country and our state economy is in dire shape. We want to be able to tell our kids that we did our share to try to turn things around – towards personal liberty, towards economic prosperity, towards the tolerant and productive America our country can be for all.” Tonya Persinger is running for House of Delegates in the 55th District (Hardy and Pendleton Counties). Matt Persinger is seeking election to the State Senate in the 14th District (all or portions of Barbour, Grant, Hardy, Monongalia, Preston, Taylor, and Tucker Counties).
Matt Persinger obtained his full GED at the early age of 16, took classes in machine technology, served in the U.S. Army’s famed 3rd U.S. Infantry (“The Old Guard”) at Fort Myer, Virginia, and is currently earning an Associate’s Degree in Business Management at Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College (“Eastern”). At Eastern, he is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. On his father’s side, Matt’s family hails from the New River Gorge area of downstate West Virginia. He has worked as a machinist throughout his adult life, “from firearms to airplanes.”
Tonya Morgan Persinger has worked hard her whole life. “My mother, stepdad, grandparents all taught me that if you worked hard, you could have all you needed for a happy, prosperous life,” Tonya relates. She worked her way up the ladder to become a finance director of a Lexus dealership. She worked “nights, holidays, weekends” and is proud of her work ethic. She and Matt made a determination, however, that, with their kids in mind, Tonya would transition to the equally challenging work of a stay-at-home Mom and would home-school their boys for a more focused education with greater opportunity for their self-discovery. As she watched the economy falter in 2008 and 2009, she began to follow the political views of former Republican Congressman, and former Presidential candidate, Ron Paul. “It was an eye-opener to learn more about the economy and the Federal Reserve. It was disillusioning. I learned how politics plays such a role in controlling economics to benefit corporate insiders,” she explains.
“So now I’m a home-schooler, we’re active in sports, I coach soccer, I’m a Libertarian; I believe in self-sufficiency, voluntarism, and homesteading,” Tonya says. Among many legislative concerns, she strongly supports the so-called ‘Tebow’ bill to let home-schooled kids participate in public school sports and other activities.
Tonya and Matt Persinger embody the wave of grass-roots citizenship activism that is sweeping across West Virginia and the country this election year. Not professional politicians, Tonya (and Matt) puts it in everyday terms: “I want my kids to have the opportunities and freedoms I have had. I want them to be able to excel as entrepreneurs. To be rugged individualists who can aim for the stars and succeed if they work hard. Not the conformity, welfare, and shared misery of a society where the government runs everything.” “If we don’t have economic freedom,” she adds, “we don’t have freedom.”
The Libertarian Party of West Virginia (LPWV) will hold its state nominating convention on Saturday, May 7, at the Sutton Days Inn and Conference Center in Flatwoods. The LPWV anticipates nominating a full slate of candidates for the six statewide races in West Virginia this year as well as candidates for Congressional and state legislative office.