Lt. Col. Tom Willis announced his candidacy for the 15th Senatorial Race Thursday in Martinsburg. (Photo Credit: Tom Willis Campaign)


MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — There’s a challenger for the seat held by West Virginia Senate President Craig Blair in the15th district.  Lt. Col. Tom Willis announced his candidacy at an event in downtown Martinsburg Thursday.

He is running for the 15th District Senate seat currently occupied by Senate President Craig Blair.

In an appearance on Panhandle Live Friday Willis did not call out the incumbent by name, he talked about differences:

An attorney and businessman in Martinsburg, Willis spoke at the announcement about how to use the prosperity in the Eastern Panhandle to grow and help the rest of the state.

He cited frustration among teachers as part of ongoing educational issues in the state:

Willis  talked about how West Virginia student outcomes stack up with others across the nation:

Willis says he’s concerned about the climate for entrepreneurs and says he’ll advocate for small business reform:

Willis was a guest on Friday’s Panhandle Live on the Panhandle News Network.  You can hear Friday’s entire show here

A press release from his campaign says Willis is a  Martinsburg and a practicing attorney in WV with Glenloch Legal,

He also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel, Army Special Forces Green Beret, with the WV National
He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, a J.D. from The University of Oregon
School of Law, and a Masters in Tax Law from Georgetown University Law School. Since then, Tom
has completed numerous Army education schools including Command and General Staff College
Tom speaks four languages: English (native), Spanish, French, and Russian.
Tom has served his community and State with the WV National Guard for 23 years and counting. He
attends Independent Bible Church on Rte. 9 where he serves on the Men’s Large Group Executive
Leadership Committee reaching out to the community. He also serves on the Board of Advisors for the
Shepherd University Hunter Carlos Willis Aviation Program.
Tom’s memberships and affiliations include the Special Forces Association, WV Citizen’s Defense
League, National Rifle Association (Lifetime Member since 2011), the Eagle Scout Association, West
Virginians for Life, the WV State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, the District of Columbia Bar
Association, Am Vets, the American Legion, VFW, the National Guard Association of West Virginia, the
National Guard Association of the United States, Independent Bible Church, the WV Republican Party,
and the Berkeley County Republican Club.
Tom, his wife Sara, and their three children reside in Hedgesville, WV

Willis joined the West Virginia National Guard in 2000. He is a Green Beret and was most recently second in command of a U.S. Army Special Forces Battalion

Willis ran unsuccessfully in the 2018 Republican Primary for United States Senate.  Patrick Morrisey won that primary but was defeated in the general election by incumbent Joe Manchin III.

The Panhandle News Network’s Luke Wiggs contributed to this story.