Betty Ireland

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Betty Ireland
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West Virginia Secretary of State
Former officeholder
Betty Ireland (born 1946, in Charleston, WV) is a Republican politician in West Virginia. She is a former Secretary of State of West Virginia and was a candidate in the state's 2011 special election for Governor of West Virginia. She placed 2nd, behind Bill Maloney, in the May 14, 2011 primary.

Ireland was elected to the office of secretary of state in November 2004, making history as the first woman elected to the Executive branch of the government of the State of West Virginia. She was also the first Republican elected to that position since 1972.


Early in her career, Ireland spent several years teacher in the West Virginia public school system. Eventually, she entered the business sector, when Ireland took a job as an administrative assistant with Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance. In 1987, she earned the designation of Certified Pension Consultant from the American Society of Pension Actuaries, the first person ever in the State of West Virginia to do so.

Ireland was an instructor for the "Mass Mutual Pension School," and the "Pension and Profit Sharing Institute" at Purdue University. For nearly six years (from 1977 to 1983), she was the owner of Retirement Systems & Services, a pension administration and consulting firm in Charleston. From 1983 to 1989, she was vice president and head of the pension division in the Trust Department of the Charleston National Bank of Commerce. Ireland moved to Jackson Kelly PLLC as a pension consultant and manager of employee benefits in early 1989.

From Jackson Kelly, Ireland moved to the position of Executive Director of the West Virginia Consolidated Public Retirement Board in August 1998, and returned to Jackson Kelly in 2002 to head its ancillary business endeavors as President and Chief Executive Officer of Jackson Kelly Solutions LLC.

While in trust law banking, she handled administrative and investment matters for more than a hundred retirement plans. In her position as head of Jackson Kelly's Employee Benefit Group, she supervised pension administrators and clerks, and personally focused on the administrative needs of nearly four hundred retirement plans, as well as the marketing strategy of the department.

In her role of Executive Director of West Virginia's Retirement System, she oversaw the administration of the retirement matters for over 120,000 plan members, and also worked closely with the State Administration and Legislature on pension matters.



See also: West Virginia special gubernatorial election, 2011 and West Virginia state executive official elections, 2011

West Virginia was not scheduled to hold a gubernatorial election until 2012. However, elected Democrat Joe Manchin gave up the seat to join the U.S. Senate in the 2010 midterms. Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin, also a Democrat, took over the office as the Lieutenant Governor of West Virginia is a title accorded to the legislator elected as Senate President, and is next in succession to the office of governor.

In her 2011 gubernatorial campaign, Ireland remarked on the need to consider individual property owners' rights when dealing with the Marcellus Shale, urged the legislature to consider a long-term amortization program as part of addressing pension liability. She also called for encouraging state workers to delay retirement until 65 so that Medicare, not the state, would be responsible for their medical costs.

On education matters, Ireland clearly backed more technology and a universal teacher evaluation system; she was more measured on backing charter school, adding some qualifications to her support.[1]

Ireland placed 2nd, to Bill Maloney.

Gubernatorial Republican Primary election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Republican Party ApprovedaBill Maloney 45.11%
     Republican Party Clark Barnes 9.58%
     Republican Party Mitch Carmichael 3.35%
     Republican Party Ralph William Clark 1.88%
     Republican Party Cliff Ellis 0.45%
     Republican Party Larry V. Faircloth 3.89%
     Republican Party Betty Ireland 30.91%
     Republican Party Mark Sorsaia 4.84%
Total Votes 61,134


In 2004, Ireland made headlines by upsetting octogenarian political legend, Ken Hechler, 52 percent to 48 percent, in a general election race, as Hechler attempted to return the Secretary of State's office (which he had previously held for a total of sixteen years).

West Virginia Secretary of State, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBetty Ireland 51.9% 375,024
     Democratic Ken Hechler 48.1% 347,780
Total Votes 722,804
Election Results via West Virginia Secretary of State


Ireland and her husband, Sam Haddad, have four children, Chuck, Andy, Alex, and Janie.

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State Executive elections

MississippiWest Virginia

GubernatorialLt. Governor
Attorney GeneralSecretary of State
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