Politics a family affair for county couple, son
Ron Foster didn’t intend to pursue politics.
He had spent his whole life working in engineering, eventually moving on to owning his own business, Scott Depot-based Foster Supply.
He said they weren’t in the picture for his wife, state delegate Nancy Foster, R-Putnam, either. She manages Gurrola Enterprises -- a company that manages multiple condos and supervises small construction projects.
One of Ron Foster’s sons, Geoff Foster, R-Putnam, was first elected as a state delegate in 2014. He also works for Foster Supply.
While Ron said their family was interested in politics and policy, they were initially wary of jumping into the political waters. Ron has been donating to politicians for years, from Democrat Joe Manchin’s 2008 Senate campaign (a decision he says he now regrets), to the campaigns of a handful of Republican delegates.
They’d provide suggestions on who should run, or explain what policies they’d enact if they were politicians. Eventually friends suggested they run.
“If you don’t really have a good response to that, maybe you should be the ones running,” Ron said.
Both Ron and Nancy were elected to their respective positions last fall. Ron was elected a Putnam County Commissioner, and Nancy was elected to the House of Delegates, 138th District.
Ron said his main reason for running is because he was disappointed to see people moving out of state. He said he witnessed “roadblocks” the state puts up against businesses are the reason people leave.
“We’ve been able to see how policies affect the success of businesses, thereby affecting the number of jobs we have in our community,” Ron said. “If we don’t have jobs in our communities, we won’t be able to provide the goods and services for people that need them.”
For Geoff, the experience has brought him closer to his father, but also to issues facing his constituents. Geoff said before Ron became a commissioner he’d suggest policies, visiting his office in the Capitol regularly.
Now, Ron can express issues going on at the county level, and Geoff can address them at the state level.
“He catches a lot of issues I wouldn’t run into,” Geoff said.
Ron said working with his son is a lot like working with other delegates, but Geoff said there’s one key difference.
“He can call me up at 10 or 11 at night to discuss a political issue,” Geoff said.
Both agree their families were always close. Geoff said they grew closer while going door to door together, attending political events and strategizing.
They are political allies -- but they are also a normal family, Ron said. He said the only way they differ from other families is sometimes their conversations are about state policy.
But Ron says it’s unlikely that any other Fosters will run for office. He and Nancy have six other children from previous marriages.