Winged headbands and can koozies may be the most visible icons of this year’s Best Politician, but there is more to Monongalia County Commissioner Tom Bloom than a friendly smile and jogging shoes. Bloom had a distinguished career as a school guidance counselor and a Morgantown city councilman before becoming a county commissioner.

Bloom attributes his political success to his time in the school system, explaining that he always tries to solve problems through collaboration and cooperation. He calls this “Team Monongalia” and believes his accessibility as a public official has given him a distinct edge. Even those who may not have checked his name at the polls reach out to Bloom with an understanding that he is willing to help. Bloom extends his commitment to communication to his Facebook page, which he posts to often and uses as a medium for dialogue with constituents.

Open-mindedness and accountability aren’t the only things Bloom credits his success to. He recalls his first race for Morgantown City Council in 1987, for which he had limited funds and only 60 yard signs. He moved those signs to new locations every Sunday and says people saw his dedication during the campaign and knew he would do the same for them if elected.

The hard-work philosophy has continued in Bloom’s weekly trips to the recycling center and his dedication to helping establish food pantries in many of the county’s schools, saying his role as a commissioner is one of service and that he cherishes being able to accomplish things for the community.

Bloom laughs and says he’s been called the Energizer Bunny because he’s always on the run, but he insists his work isn’t done. “I’m working harder than I’ve ever worked and enjoying it more,” he says. — AR

written by AUSTIN REMPEL

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