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Betty Ireland


In 2004, Betty Ireland became the first woman elected to the executive branch of government in West Virginia. Ireland was born on December 2, 1945, in Charleston and graduated from the University of Cincinnati. She was a teacher for several years before entering the private sector as a business owner and executive, with much of her work relating to pensions. From 1998 to 2001, she served as executive director of the West Virginia Consolidated Retirement Board.

In 1987, she was elected to Charleston City Council and served one term. In 2004, Ireland, a Republican, entered the race for secretary of state, defeating Democrat Ken Hechler in the general election. During her term, she focused on the adoption of new technology, including touch-screen voting. She served one term and declined to run for reelection because of concerns about her parents’ health. Ireland ran in the special election for governor in 2011 but lost in the Republican primary to Morgantown businessman Bill Maloney. She is married to Sam Haddad, and they have four children. They live in Charleston.