Republican write-in candidate, Woody Hanna, has alleged Democratic opponent Tammy Shiftlet-Tincher has committed irregularities in her campaign practices.
He questioned Tincher’s use of Greenbrier West High School facilities to construct political materials, as well as having her political calling cards printed on campus by students. Who paid for the political materials and the use of the school’s Cavalier Sweatshop facilities, he asks, and why don’t Tincher’s business cards state who paid for their production, as required by law.
“I don’t know if they used equipment, materials or whatever, but the moment they turned the lights on in that shop, they were using taxpayer funds,” he said, in interviews with both The Register Herald and the Mountain Messenger.
Hanna, 65, a former teacher at Greenbrier West, said he was sympathetic with Tincher’s support for the school’s Career and Technical Education program (CTE) where the calling cards were produced, but, at the time, he stated he was reluctant to make the alleged infractions public. The issue occurred back in the Spring of 2018. Hanna said he didn’t want to bring the topic to the attention of the public ahead of the primary election in case the controversy would hinder the Board of Education’s effort to gain a continuation of an excess levy vote on the ballot.
Hanna ran as a Democrat in the primary and was defeated by Tincher. In September he announced that he had changed parties and began his write-in challenge to Tincher – as a Republican.
Now, as the general election draws near, Hanna is referring to Tincher’s use of school facilities to make signs and produce political calling cards as being “completely unaware of rules against doing this.” He called her actions “defiant” or as “having total disregard for the legal way of doing things.”
When contacted by the Mountain Messenger, Tincher, 39, whose husband is a teacher and coach at GWHS, said she most certainly paid for all campaign materials and denied any wrong-doing. She said she has records showing she paid $80 for the work done at the Sweatshop, and said that another candidate, running for the House of Delegates, had also commissioned campaign materials from the school’s student-run facility. Tincher said BOE Superintendent Jeff Bryant has backed her assertions, although he had some reservations about the sign-making at the facility. Tincher said she also has invoices from local hardware stores for the purchase of the sign materials that were assembled at the school shop. Bryant did not consider the use of GWHS facilities a serious breach of school rules, as reported in the Register-Herald. “I feel certain nothing of that type will happen again,” Bryant said.
In contacting the Board of Education, the Mountain Messenger spoke to Nancy Hanna (no relation), associate superintendent for Curriculum/Instruction/Student Services, who affirmed the CTE simulated work space program, used by both Greenbrier West and East high schools, has been a great success story as a business model. As far as (Woody) Hanna’s valid concerns went, she said the caveat for any work done for Tincher at the school’s simulated work space must offer the same services to all other political parties.
Tincher said she has received no notice from the Secretary of State for being out of compliance in using the school shop as a site for sign construction. Because the public can’t rent school facilities, a market value hasn’t been established. Tincher was advised by Mike Queen, deputy chief of staff and communications director for the Secretary of State, to disclose the value she believes her campaign received from the use of school property (electricity, tools, etc.) and file an amended campaign finance report.