MANNINGTON, W.Va. – Lora Michael has been a WVU Basketball lover and a Mannington resident all her life.
She’s a 37-year business owner who had a dream of politics.
“I’ve always kind of thought that politics and business wouldn’t mesh real well. I decided about six years ago, I was going to start kind of looking into it,” said Michael.
She looked into it and then got cold feet.
“I was going to run in the last election, or I thought about it anyway, and there were, I think, 6 or 7 candidates for mayor at the time,” said Michael. “I thought ‘that’s too many, I’m just going to stay out.’”
Then, she took the plunge. “This year, I decided this was it. It was time,” said Michael.
In July 2021, Michael became the first female mayor in Mannington’s history.
“You know, I love this position. I love it. I started, and I started off running. It was the day I started, we started getting some things done,” said Michael.
And that she did—she’s worked on a dam that needed to be replaced, some dilapidated structures and her newest undertaking is one for the entire community.
“It is a new pool project—a $1.8 million project. We have been able to raise $758,000 for that pool project. We’re only about $250,000 short, which, it’s nothing. We’ll get it,” said Michael.
According to Michael, the city’s current pool was built in the 1930s and is struggling to continue operation. When deciding if the city needed a new pool, she said: “Why not us? Why don’t we try to get a new pool?”
The pool and other projects on the city’s plate don’t come free of charge though—they’re raising money with the help of Michael, who isn’t new to the idea. She even helped her daughter’s high school raise money for a new track.
“I became the President of the Friends of North Marion Track, and we started raising money,” said Michael. “That’s one thing I kind of like to do—I like to raise, promote, I like to present, I like to find avenues and angles to receive money. There’s money out there—you just have to go and look and you have to ask.”
The committee was able to raise about $80,000 and have sponsorships, which helped pay for signage and timing equipment for the new track.
She’s also been named the Elks Lodge Person of the Year, as well as served on multiple committees, such as President of the Woman’s Club and Director of Mannington Main Street.
She also orchestrates the Mannington Farmer’s Market, purchased a new K9 for the city, and does hair for residents at Fairmont Health and Rehab Center. Michael loves the job, is setting records, and is working to make Mannington a better place.
“I’m not sure what our next project is we’re going to conquer, but I think that by March, I’ll have something else on my plate,” said Michael.
And now that it is March, Michael does have something else on her plate–she’s now running for Marion County Commission.
She has advice for anyone who feels they can’t do something.
“Never take a no. There’s always a yes. If one person tells you no, go to the next person. Keep digging until someone tells you yes,” said Michael.