ST. CLAIRSVILLE  — With the support and encouragement of friends and community leaders, Attorney Christopher Gagin announced today that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Belmont County Commissioner. Mr. Gagin, who is also the current chairman of the Belmont County Republican Party, will face fellow Republican Jerry Echemann in the May 8, 2018, primary.

"Every election is about the future of our community, and 2018 is no different. This year, Belmont County voters will determine whether the county continues to move forward with new faces, new ideas and the new sense of openness brought about by the 2016 election results," Gagin said during his announcement.

Gagin went on to observe, "Belmont County is now a driving force within Ohio’s economic future. With our coal, oil and natural gas resources, Belmont County is Ohio’s energy capital. The challenge is to ensure we properly manage this opportunity. We must further invest in our infrastructure to support future growth and improve the quality of life throughout the county. We must also help local businesses find ways to expand. Every local job developed through expansion is one less job we must recruit from the outside world. We must continue our preparations for, and support of, the proposed cracker plant. However, we must understand that no single project, no matter how large, eliminates the need for sound fiscal discipline and planning, and we must never fail to listen to the concerns of county residents, tell them the truth, even when painful, and ensure the county is always working toward improving its service to them."

"In short, I believe it is a great time to live, work, open a business and raise a family in Belmont County. And, it is that spirit, that optimism and that philosophy that I intend to bring to the commission, if elected," Gagin concluded.

Mr. Gagin, 50, is a lawyer in private practice with the Wheeling-based law firm of McCamic, Sacco & McCoid, PLLC. He is licensed to practice law in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. He and his wife, Katherine Kelich, live in Richland Township with their two-year old daughter, Gabriella. Mr. Gagin is a 1990 graduate of the University of Michigan, as well as a 1993 graduate of the University of Akron School of Law. He is a past president of the Belmont County Bar Association, and the current solicitor for the Village of Flushing. Previously, Mr. Gagin served as acting magistrate within the Belmont County Court of Common Pleas, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Divisions, and he served Jefferson and Harrison Counties as an assistant prosecuting attorney. Prior to switching parties in 2013, Mr. Gagin was former U.S. Congressman Charlie Wilson’s (D-OH06) District Director and Staff Attorney. Mr. Gagin was elected chairman of the Belmont County Republican Party in April 2016.