Gene Buckner, President of the Mercer County Commission, grew up in Bluefield, Va., and turned his love for automobiles into a successful Mercer County business. After enjoying success in the business world, Gene, (born Allen Gene Buckner) decided to apply the lessons he learned in business, as well as what he learned during his post graduate work in the “School of Hard Knocks,” in the field of public service.
“The Lord led me into public service,” President Buckner said. “I had an idea that my ideas could be developed into something positive for Mercer County. That’s why I ran for office.”
“I love to represent the people of this county,” he said. “To be selected to the position of Commission President was a great honor for me. I want to live the best life I possibly can and I want to serve the people of Mercer County to the best of my ability.”
A self-styled “car guy,” President Buckner attended the local schools and played basketball for a time when he was a student at Graham High School. However, at age 14, he discovered his passion for working on cars … A passion that he learned from his father. He still enjoys restoring and modifying vehicles today. The evidence of that can be seen in his pristine and powerful 1954 Studebaker as well as his 1948 Chevrolet pickup convertible. Yes, pickup/convertible.
Gene graduated from GHS in 1971, and married his wife, Diane, in the same year. The Buckner’s have two children, Holly and Jeff, as well as four grandchildren. His office is decorated primarily with photographs of his family, with one exception – an autographed photo of basketball great Larry Bird.
Mr. Buckner’s work history is vehicle-powered, yet diverse. He drove truck for about five years after graduating from high school, but as his family started growing, he opted to go into business for himself. He started a pressure washing business, but soon got into the service station/garage business. By the late 1980s, Mr. Buckner opened his NAPA auto parts store on Bluefield Avenue in Bluefield, and in 1996, opened a second NAPA store on Mercer Street in Princeton.
Although President Buckner addresses many important issues in the Mercer County Commission, he often relies on a higher authority when facing challenging issues – his faith. Gene keeps his Bible within close reach of his desk, and even sings God’s praises with a gospel trio, The Halls Ridge Boys.
President Buckner is a Republican who represents Mercer County’s District II.
Term: January 1, 2017 - December 31, 2022
William R. “Bill” Archer is a Republican, District I representative and newest member of the three-person Mercer County Commission. Commissioner Archer has never held a public office of any kind before, but he has devoted many years of his life to community service and hopes to continue that work in his present position.
“My dad was orphaned as an infant and raised in an orphanage,” Commissioner Archer said. “He was adopted in his mid-teens, worked as a ‘Gandy dancer’ for the B&O Railway, but did not find his identity until he joined the U.S. Army in 1942. In combat as a buck sergeant, he learned that there are no Atheists in a foxhole and that service and brotherhood are lifelong commitments. He shared that as well as his passion for writing with me.” His father, Carl Wesley Archer, had a post-World War II poem published in Readers Digest.
Mr. Archer grew up on a farm in southwestern Pennsylvania and graduated from McGuffey High School in Claysville, PA in 1967. He was a three-year letterman in football, but enjoyed baseball even more. However, a motor scooter wreck during his senior year ended any athletic or military dreams he may have had. While college had not been a priority before the wreck, it impacted his direction in life. Washington & Jefferson College offered to honor a football scholarship, but Commissioner Archer also applied to Pitt, Penn State and West Virginia University. Ultimately, he selected WVU because it was the first school to start classes and he was tired of working at Green Cove Farms, an experimental Charolais cattle farm.
Although it took five and one-half years, Archer worked his way through school at a truck stop, construction laborer and contractor and earned a degree in English from WVU in 1972. He got a job driving tractor-trailer hauling steel east of the Mississippi River, was a bus driver at WVU, stationary engineer at the Morgantown Energy Technology Center, bar doorman at the old Bluefield Holiday Inn, maintenance mechanic for the Bluefield Sanitary Board, communications coordinator at Bluefield Community Hospital, executive editor of the Twin State Marketer/Observer and senior editor of the Bluefield Daily Telegraph. Bill and his wife, Evonda live in Bluefield. They have three children, Dannie Morgan, Adrienne Murray and Coleen Martinez and six grandchildren. Mr. Archer has authored nine pictorial history books of Mercer County and surrounding communities and continues to perform songs with Karl Miller, his musical partner of 29 years. He believes that God has brought him through unspeakable challenges in life and he believes that God has led him to this new position of public service.
Term: January 1, 2015 – December 31, 2020
Greg Puckett is a native southern West Virginian with a passion for community! As an alumnus of Princeton Senior High School and Concord College, Greg has worked diligently with communities across the country to bring in special projects and initiatives in the hopes of preventing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs amongst youth and their families. He has also been an integral part of several community revitalization and conservation initiatives.
Although he has held a number of positions in the local community prior to serving as County Commissioner, he is currently the Executive Director of Community Connections Inc. (CCI) (the County’s Family Resource Network), where he continually reaches across county and state lines to help guide the prevention and community building process. As such, he currently serves on several state committees including the Governors Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction: Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, the WV Drug Endangered Children Taskforce, the state Underage Prevention Workgroup, WV MADD Leadership Committee, and is one of a team of local businesses and individuals passionately dedicated to revitalization and economic stabilization through the Princeton Renaissance Project (a partnership with the West Virginia HUB initiative).
Since being elected as County Commissioner in November 2014, Greg has worked in cooperation with other Commissioners to re-establish the Mercer County Planning Commission, expanded the litter control efforts to establish the nationally recognized and award winning Keep Mercer Clean Campaign, established tighter policies and ordinances to insure accountability, and, worked to pay off the county debt to our regional jail. Together, the Commission has invested over $500,000 into our county park, worked to expand technology within the courthouse, and strengthened new community based partnerships.
He currently serves on the Mercer County 911 Board of Directors, as well as the Board of the Mercer County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. He is on the board to promote the King Coal Highway, the Mercer Planning Commission, the West Virginia Risk Pool Board, and has been added to the County Commission Association of West Virginia (CCAWV) Board of Directors and Legislative Committee. He is currently West Virginia’s representative on the Health Committee for the National Association of Counties (NACo), and also serves as Vice Chair of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee, and is a member of NACo’s Arts and Culture Subcommittee. Greg was formerly on the National Coalition Advisory Committee for CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) and was promoted to Secretary of the Board of Directors in 2018. He works in close partnership with Federal Legislators and other national organizations such as SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) to carry out a host of national initiatives and pilot programs.
He is the proud father of two kids (Lauren and Joseph) that keep him dedicated to making positive change happen, and leaving a legacy for the next generation to follow.
Commissioner Puckett serves as the Region III representative.